Bus route’s future worries passengers

C130514-1 Bog Apr18 Bus  phot kate''Residents around Churchill Avenue who are cross that the bus routes around their area are being cut.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C130514-1
C130514-1 Bog Apr18 Bus phot kate''Residents around Churchill Avenue who are cross that the bus routes around their area are being cut.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C130514-1

ANGRY bus passengers are fearing for the future of their lifeline service through West Meads.

Stagecoach is halving the frequency of the Star 2 route through the residential area from May 5.

The current hourly service between 7am and 5.40pm will be replaced by a bus about every two hours.

Churchill Avenue resident Marie Beaumont, 80, said: “If this bus is stopped, many people around here will not be able to do anything. Most of them can’t walk.

“The bus is really a social service. It’s essential for people to do their shopping and to go to places like the Laburnum Centre.”

Without the bus, many of its passengers would be condemned to loneliness and inactivity to lead to more illness and burdens on the NHS, she said.

She cited examples of passengers who included two partially sighted women, aged 80, and a female, 83, recovering from cataract surgery.

“They are all independent and come and go as they please. Don’t treat us strivers like this,” she said.

Marie Deacon, 78, of Queensfield West, said: “The removal of this service will isolate many elderly people who do not drive or own a car. The lack of public transport will deter potential property buyers and, therefore, devalue our houses. Will another bus, such as the 60, detour its route on to the estate to cover the Star 2?

“If this is down to money, would the introduction of reduced fares rather than free travel make the service more viable?”

Residents in Stroud Green will also be affected by the changes. They are the first since October 2008.

They will see the Star 2 replaced by the 61 and 62 to the new Sainsbury’s on Shripney Road. The 61 will link Stroud Green and West Meads and the 62 will go to Rose Green and Aldwick.

A new route, service 65 from North and South Bersted to Sainsbury’s, will run about every two hours from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

The services are not funded by the county council but Sainsbury’s pays for the extensions to the new store.