Hundreds sign petition for better bus service in Redditch

A WOMAN who relies heavily on public transport has started a petition calling for a better bus operator in Redditch.

Steph Pickerill has mobility issues so she does not drive and uses the bus as her primary mode of transportation.

She uses the 11/12 service to get to her job at Boots in the city center and said if the routes were removed she would have no way to get to work.

Steph, 41, said: ‘I have three conditions which affect my mobility so a three mile walk to town and back will cripple me.

“My doctor’s office is also downtown.

“I despair of how to get to work, especially in the winter months.

“If the buses were scrapped, I would have to take a taxi to work, and my daughter would have to take one to university and back, which would cost over £20 a day.

“Every bus service at risk of being cut goes to Alexandra Hospital and that will leave a good part of Redditch without bus service.

“We just want a good, functional bus service to get to town, to the doctors, and to work.”

However, Cllr Mike Rouse, cabinet member for highways and transport, said the council did not have the power to fire and hire bus operators.

“There’s nothing stopping bus operators from coming in – they can come into the county, set up a route, set up a service and get on and run it,” Cllr Rouse said.

@mikerouseuk

Respond to comments about the possibility of laying off bus operators.

♬ original sound – mikerouseuk

“It also means that nothing prevents bus operators from leaving if they want to or if they think it is no longer commercially viable for them.

“It’s not just about firing or hiring operators – we just don’t have those powers.

“Even if we did, taking this approach would be extremely dangerous”

Cllr Rouse added that he has heard heartbreaking stories and wants to make sure residents have a service that is good enough for everyone to use.

Diamond Bus has said it does not want to cut services and is in discussions with council and MPs to improve the position.

A Diamond Bus spokesperson said: ‘For a long time we have operated services that are unsustainable, and we have not taken this decision lightly.

In response, Worcestershire County Council is setting up a task force to review current bus arrangements and to ensure that bus travel can meet the needs of residents across the county.

This group will be made up of the county council, bus operators, passenger groups and Worcestershire constituency MPs.

Cllr Rouse said: “We know how important bus travel is to Worcestershire residents, especially those who regularly rely on their local services to make appointments, get to work or even see family.

“I have set out our mission to review, improve and secure our network now and in the future, and I hope this approach will reassure the residents of Worcestershire that we are committed to making the necessary changes. to ensure long-term viability where we box.”

To sign Steph’s petition, click here: https://bit.ly/3y6ePHt.

Melvin Z. Madore