Petition over cuts to bus service
A Great Casterton resident claims that cuts to the number 9 bus between Oakham and Stamford is causing people to become ‘socially isolated’ and has started up a petition.
Bus user Wanda Allen, 70, has collected more than 100 signatures on a petition that was started in response to operator Centrebus cutting back on the weekday 4pm service and all Saturday services in September.
Wanda handed in the petition to Rutland County Council on Monday. It says: ‘We the undersigned call on the Council and bus operators to explore new ways of reinstating our bus services between Oakham and Stamford.
‘Volunteer and one-off journey (Call Connect) alternatives do not provide the flexibility needed for an independent lifestyle.
‘Proper services are vital for a thriving and fair society and these cuts hit those most at risk of disadvantage.’
“I was surprised how much it (the changes) has impacted people,” she said.
“People are having to fork out to use either the train or taxis to get to work. One young person travels from Empingham to Stamford which cost £16 a week on the bus and £28 to do it by taxi.
“I’m concerned that Rutland is turning into a place where you can only get around if you have a car.
“For elderly people and youngsters who don’t drive, it has had a big impact on their lives.
“It is impacting on the quality of their lives - people are becoming socially isolated.
“If you go on the bus you see people chatting to each other and you don’t want people by themselves.”
Mark Bland Travel were commissioned by Rutland County Council to fill some of the gaps left by Centrebus.
Coun Lucy Stephenson, portfolio holder for transport, at Rutland County Council, said: “I want to reassure everyone that we take the issue of local transport and people’s ability to travel extremely seriously.
“Rutland County Council officers have been working tirelessly to problem solve gaps left by alterations to bus services, including the 747, RF1 and Service 9 buses. The solutions are not straight forward.
“Our aim remains to ensure that services are commissioned on the basis of meeting the needs of those who need them most.”