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East Swindon | November 23, 2017

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Anger as bus routes are axed

Anger as bus routes are axed
Dale Heenan
  • On December 5, 2011

A PLAN to axe two major bus routes which will see parts of the town left without public transport has sparked an outcry from nearby residents.

Thamesdown Transport, owned by Swindon Council, has announced it will be scrapping services 21 and 23 in the New Year because passenger numbers have fallen and they do not make enough money.

The move will see thousands of residents in Coleview, Stratton Park and parts of Penhillwithout access to a dedicated bus route.

Paul Jenkins, managing director of Thamesdown Transport, said: “These routes are run commercially – in other words they depend on the revenue obtained from passengers on those services – and unfortunately they are no longer viable for us to operate.”

The decision has been slammed by bus passengers and local councillors, who say their areas rely on public transport.

Coun Andy Harrison (Penhill, Lib Dem) said: “I’m utterly disgusted with the changes and appalled with Thamesdown Transport for doing it.

“It’s been done without any consultation with local councillors or the community, which they should do when making changes to services that really do impact on people.

“I can understand they need to look at the financial implications but they could have said ‘what are our options?’”

Marilyn Beale, secretary of the Penhill Forum, said the elderly and young parents would suffer from the changes.

“The elderly people and the young mums getting their kids to school from the valley will lose out and it’s a frost bucket so the slightest bit of frost and it becomes an interesting journey. They are being unreasonable.”

Coun Dale Heenan (Coving-ham and Nythe, Con) said he was disappointed but understood the firm’s reasons.

He said: “This is a particularly contentious issue locally and the resident will be disappointed there is no provision to Coleview.

“I found out on Friday and contacted the chief executive straight away. His response was that the service had seen a four per cent reduction in passengers and the route is losing money. Thamesdown runs as a commercial business at arms length from the council.”

Mr Jenkins said: “The nearest alternative buses for passengers using Service 21 will be Services 11 or 17. For Walcot residents using Service 23, their nearest alternative will be Service 2. Coleview will no longer have a direct bus service, but we are re-routing Service 2 along Covingham Drive; in addition,Stagecoach Service 66 runs along Oxford Road.

“I fully appreciate these changes will inconvenience a number of passengers and I am sorry for any difficulties. In most cases there are alternative services within a reasonable walking distance.”

The firm’s town service booklet available before Christmas will include the changes.

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