Anger as buses axed

The B1 bus in Beaconsfield Road, Easington. Bus route activist, Roger Reynolds, about to get on. NNL-160531-154520009
The B1 bus in Beaconsfield Road, Easington. Bus route activist, Roger Reynolds, about to get on. NNL-160531-154520009

Elderly people in Easington are to be left without public transport while some of Banbury’s threatened bus routes have been saved.

Stagecoach revealed this week that after a review, provoked by a public outcry against bus losses, Hanwell Fields and Bodicote services would be reprieved while those to Grimsbury, Poets’ Corner and Easington will be axed. Timetables for those that survive, including the Bretch Hill buses, however, will be modified.

The cuts are a result of the removal of bus service subsidies by Oxfordshire County Council in a bid to save £3.7m.

Householder Roger Reynolds, of St Anne’s Road, said: “I am absolutely appalled for the estate which is mainly made up of older people.

“Now there is little or no chance we will get a bus until the Salt Way estate has been built. I’m totally disgusted.

“A lot of people here depend on the bus. We never believed we’d lose it the service.

“I moved here because of my health needs, because I needed to live in a bungalow and needed the bus service.”

Mr Rogers said the residents would require more GP home visits and would be lonely and housebound or dependent on taxis they cannot afford. “It’s a downward spiral; no one seems to care,” he said. “We have bus passes worth £260 a year but no buses. David Cameron said as long as he was Prime Minister he would protect pensioners’ benefits but the county council has overruled that.”

Martin Sutton, managing director at Stagecoach, said: “The withdrawal of the B1 has been forced upon us following the decision by Oxfordshire County Council to end funding for non-commercial bus services and to cancel our contract for the B1.

“Regrettably, we are unable to continue without this support as the income from fares, combined with the income from concessionary fare, does not cover the costs of running the service.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.”