Rugby political group says residents need two more weeks to have their say over cuts to bus services

A Rugby political group is calling on Stagecoach to give residents at least two more weeks to have their say on cuts to bus services in  the borough.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 5:02 pm
File image.

On December 30 Stagecoach Midlands contacted this newspaper asking that we publicise a public consultation they were holding over plans to cut or change seven bus services in the area.

The Advertiser published the story online that day, and then in print on Thursday January 2 – and the deadline for the consultation was January 5.

Pete McLaren of Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) said: “This announcement was made through one local media outlet (Rugby Advertiser) on Thursday January 2nd, with the consultation deadline set for Sunday January 5th.

“To allow just three days for consultation on such a wide range of proposed changes is simply outrageous and shows a complete disregard for passenger and public opinion.

“We ask that the consultation period be extended by at least two weeks.

“These proposals by Stagecoach will, in our view, further decimate our local bus services which have already suffered massive cuts in recent years.

“The loss of a local bus service, particularly in rural areas, can leave people isolated or dependent on friends and family to help them travel.

“Such cuts hit the elderly, infirm and vulnerable disproportionately.

“Bus services in the Rugby area already been cut to the bone, especially in the evenings, and, if implemented, these additional suggested cuts will further disadvantage ordinary working people, especially in areas of the greatest need for public transport including Hillmorton, Newbold, Brownsover, Long Lawford and Wolston.

“We call upon Stagecoach to reverse these planned cuts and enter into talks with Warwickshire County Council to improve local bus services.”

A spokesperson for Stagecoach, responding to TUSC’s calls for the consultation to be extended, said: “We are planning changes to bus services around the Midlands from 22/23 February 2020 and felt it was important to ask our passengers for their views on the proposals.

“These proposed changes are to routes for which we receive no public subsidy from Warwickshire County Council.

“We asked for any responses to our survey to be given by the 5th January, so we have time to look at the results and register the changes by the planned February start date.

“From looking at the initial results of the survey, we are pleased to say, we have gained some valuable feedback, which will be taken in to account when

registering the up and coming changes.

“A lot of our changes are based around reliability and we would love to get things running more smoothly for our customers as soon as we can.”