Plea for U-turn on plan to scrap buses

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More than 200 people have signed a petition in the fight to overturn a controversial decision to scrap a bus service between Eastwood and the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham.

The Advertiser revealed that Yourbus is pulling the plug on the Y29 service next month.

The company blames a lack of funding. Earlier this year, the weekend service was chopped because of poor usage.

Nurse Diane Harvey, of Newthorpe, is among those campaigning to save the service. She starts work at 7am and now has to leave her house earlier, catch two buses and pay double the cost.

“I talk to people on the bus and they just can’t believe it. You should not have all this stress before getting to work. You have enough when you get there,” she said.

The nurse, who works in the QMC’s eye outpatient department, said patients from Eastwood who have sight problems and will struggle with the bus upheaval.

“I get a lot of patients from Eastwood that rely on that bus to get to and from the hospital,” she said. “People can‘t see properly. It’s not just myself I’m thinking of.

“And then there’s the dark nights to consider.”

The Eastwood People’s Initiative is behind the petition campaign, which was launched after it was bombarded with complaints about the loss of the service, which is set to end on September 13.

Volunteer Diane Charlton said: “People are saying to us that it’s an absolute necessity. It’s a lifeline for people.

“A lot of staff are reliant on that bus service to get to work. Then there’s patients to get there as well. It’s not always feasible for people going in for treatment to change buses.”

The organisation, which helps people with all sorts of problems such as benefit and debt, is still collecting signatures on the petition.

Service operator, Yourbus, decided to scrap the Y29 service to the hospital because it was not cost effective and a lack of funding.

Problems getting a direct bus to the hospital date back ten years, and it is the third time since 2009 a direct bus from Eastwood to the hospital has been taken off the roads.

Mrs Harvey, of Metcalf Road, said she could not understand it, claiming the bus was always full.

The 56-year-old said: “We have always had problems with a bus to the hospital. We just want a bus to get us to work and back. Is it too much to ask? Even if they were just to run it in the morning.”

Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero is backing the campaign to get the service re-instated.

She said: “This service provides an extremely important and direct link from Eastwood to a major hospital in the region and local folk will be devastated when it is axed.

“Unfortunately, the Government cut funding to councils for local transport by 28 per cent in 2010 and removed ring-fencing of the remaining funding. The Government has also cut the Bus Service Operators Grant by a fifth.

“Ministers really need to sit up and take notice of these concerns.”

A spokesperson for Yourbus said: “We continued to operate the route without funding - unfortunately we can no longer continue to do so. Service 101 will cover the Newthorpe Common part of service Y29, operating via Baker Road. It will turn left onto Nottingham Road, and then right into Smithurst Road and will operate Smithurst Road, Halls Lane and Newthorpe Common.”