Firm slammed for cutting bus route

PUBLISHED: 07:22 08 June 2006 | UPDATED: 09:25 24 May 2010

ANGRY residents are in uproar after a vital village bus service was scrapped, leaving hundreds of pensioners stranded. Elderly people living in the old part of St Georges now face a long walk to catch a bus into Weston after operators First cut the number

ANGRY residents are in uproar after a vital village bus service was scrapped, leaving hundreds of pensioners stranded.Elderly people living in the old part of St Georges now face a long walk to catch a bus into Weston after operators First cut the number 13 and 14 service to the village. The bus company claims running the service into the old part of St Georges was uneconomical.This has left furious residents from 400 houses in St Georges with no choice but to hike up to a mile to the new part of the village or face crossing a busy main road to catch a ride.Villagers have written letters and are signing a petition protesting against the cut.First slashed the long-standing service from Willow Close, Station Road and Vale Crescent on Sunday and re-routed it to serve new estates in the village via Pastures Way.The bus, which runs from St Georges through Weston to Uphill, will also no longer stop at Morrisons supermarket in Locking Castle.Kathleen Bucknall, aged 79, of Station Road, relies on the service to travel to hospital with her 84-year-old blind husband Eddie.She said: "We feel totally let down by First. We now have to cross the horrendously busy Bristol Road that leads to the motorway and actually walk on the road for part of the way because there is no pavement. I do not feel safe, especially if I have to walk with Eddie, who is registered blind."The other alternative is to walk a mile and cross the railway line. I know of a number of people in the village who will not be able to manage either."I need to catch the bus for regular hospital appointments in Weston." Parish council chairman John Warren said: "Nobody in the village was consulted about this cut and many people, especially the elderly, have not got much more than a sporting chance of getting to the other side when they cross Bristol Road."North Somerset Council's executive member for transport, Councillor John Crockford-Hawley, said the council had asked First to look for a solution.A spokesman for the firm said: "Before any service changes we closely monitor customer levels. As service 13 is wholly commercial, the only money First receives is through fares and unfortunately it was not commercially viable to keep running through the village. "To meet increasing customer demand we have now re-routed service 13 via the Pastures Way housing estate.

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