Elderly will be stranded when bus services end next spring

Doris Beswick and Queenie Stringer NNL-150812-170756001
Doris Beswick and Queenie Stringer NNL-150812-170756001

Elderly residents of Claydon have described how they will lose a lifeline if the county council goes ahead with cuts to rural bus subsidies.

Claydon residents Doris Beswick and Queenie Stringer say they are devastated at the prospect of losing their independence when the Stagecoach 277 service through the village is discontinued next March.

Villager and campaigner Jenny Jones said: “Neither has family living close and they rely on this service and a fortnightly trip to Tesco via Dial-a-Ride.

“Dial-a-Ride is also scheduled to stop but they are hoping the previous operator will take it up.”

Mrs Beswick, 89, said: “I go to Banbury every week to have my hair done. I also sometimes meet a friend and I always go to Marks and Spencer. I also use the bus to go to the dentist and optician. Neighbours are very kind with lifts to surgery and hospital appointments but they are busy too and I can’t expect them to do any more.”

Mrs Stringer, 92 is a veteran of World War II, having served in Belgium from the age of 19. She gave up driving a few years ago and takes the bus two or three times per week for trips to the hairdresser, the bank, the post office and to buy fresh food. She also uses the bus to attend dentist and optician’s appointments. The outings are also a form of exercise, as the paths in the village, where there are any, are very uneven and slippery.

“Without the bus service I will spend practically all of my time trapped in the house,” she said.

“Without a service to Banbury the £24 cost of a return trip by mini cab is prohibitive.”

Villager Jenny Jones said: “The county council has been brutal with its cuts. Rather than looking at reducing the frequency of all services, it has completely cut some but retained others intact. At present there is just one bus per day but reducing the service to two or three per week would allow us a lifeline.

“It’s ironic that when HS2 is built, the trains will be visible from the village, giving passengers better public transport to and from the cities but we’ll not even have transport to Banbury.”