‘Bus route changes have left us adrift,’ say Swindon pensioners

Swindon Advertiser: Paul Kumra, pictured with Dee Desa, has started a petition to restore the number 11 bus route Buy this photo » Paul Kumra, pictured with Dee Desa, has started a petition to restore the number 11 bus route

PARTIALLY sighted pensioner Paul Kumra says the rerouting of a bus service in Pinehurst has completely cut him and other elderly residents off from their community.

Retired quality controller Paul, 73, has lived on Beech Avenue for 45 years and has been a regular user of the Number 11 Thamesdown Transport bus, often using it twice a day to access the shops in Moredon Road.

But on January 6, revised routes and timetables were introduced in response to passenger usage, which included the Number 11 service being rerouted from the top of Pinehurst Road through Whitworth Road.

This has left the residents of Beech Avenue with no bus service from Monday to Saturday.

Paul said the changes have had a detrimental effect on the elderly residents in his street, who can no longer visit the shops, post office and other services.

He said: “For me, it was the only way to stay in touch with the community and that has now totally gone. Now I don’t even get out of bed until 10am because what for? There is no reason to get up anymore.

“Luckily I am still able to walk but I’m partially sighted and with all the shopping it is a huge struggle. I’d invite the managing director of Thamesdown to come and see how difficult he has made the lives of the many pensioners on that road.

“You don’t need a miracle to work it out, and if they had consulted with the people that use the bus it might have helped. They think they know all the answers but they don’t see the people who are suffering.

“There are a lot of retired, elderly people along Beech Avenue. There is one man who is blind that used to use the bus, but since they made the changes I haven’t seen him go out at all.

“Since January 6, when they implemented the changes, I have only left the house three times. What kind of life is that? They have totally cut off this area.

“I’d like to know how much money is being saved by rerouting this service – I could understand if they had just made it less frequent because it was every 15 minutes. We wouldn’t mind if it was every half hour or every hour, but to completely change the route is ridiculous.

“I am a pensioner who has paid my taxes all my life and this is the present we get from Thamesdown in the new year.”

Paul is so determined to see the bus rerouted back through Beech Avenue that he has started a petition, which he intends to give to Thamesdown Transport.

He said: “A lot of the residents have just given up, they think nothing is going to change now, but nothing will happen unless you say something so I have started a petition in the hope they will reconsider the changes.

“We rely on the service for our everyday needs and for the past 45 years, I am happy to say that the Number 11 bus service has been fulfilling that vital role in our life – just to get out and away from the mundane daily life and feel alive. The changes have resulted in unbearable stress and depression.”

Thamesdown Transport managing director Paul Jenkins said: “The recent changes made to our services were as a result of thorough analysis of how our passengers used the services, with the aim of making them more efficient and therefore commercially viable.

“Service 11 was also affected by the loss of around £500,000 a year in financial support from the NHS for services to the Great Western Hospital. Where roads are no longer served, we have tried to ensure there are alternative routes available nearby.

“We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

Comments (12)

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10:27am Fri 18 Jan 13

dogchops says...

“We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

O yeah......bet you are.
“We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.” O yeah......bet you are. dogchops

11:45am Fri 18 Jan 13

perfectpete says...

lazy gits, there is a bus stop at both ends if the road! less than 4 mins walk
lazy gits, there is a bus stop at both ends if the road! less than 4 mins walk perfectpete

11:55am Fri 18 Jan 13

John Smith II says...

The major cost saving has come from combining the previous service 11 and 24 routes into a combined service 11/12. Looking through the timetables this has produced about a 30% reduction in vehicle requirements during the off-peak period with associated savings in the cost of drivers and fuel, and potentially further overall savings from being able to undertake more vehicle maintenance in this off-peak period, rather than out of hours. Given the joint pressures of reducing reimbursement from Local Authorities for the 'free' passes that many bus users have and the reduction in 'Bus Service Operators Grant' that all operators are facing, this looks like a pragmatic solution.


I believe that the service changes have had little impact on most customers. The vast majority of customers on the 11/12 travel to/from the town centre, for which the new 11/12 provide a 15 minute frequency service, direct links to the GWH have been maintained and the early evening service has been improved - previously there was a gap in service 11 from the town centre to Haydon Wick between 18:23 and 19:00, the new 11/12 service provides a bus every 15 mins until 19:07 and then as per the previous evening service. The removal of the section of route along Beech Avenue also means that it is no longer necessary to be bounced over a long series of 'speed tables' which are neither comfortable for passengers, or presumably very good for the buses either.


With any service rationalisation there are bound to be winners and losers. In this case those who are worse off are the minority who made intermediate journeys on the old services 11/24, such as Mr Kumra and anyone who used service 24 to access employment at Kembrey Park. However Thamesdown are a commercial company and hence need to be profitable in order to remain in business. Any gap in the public transport network is the responsibility of the Borough Council and hence I would suggest that it is to them that any petition is directed. Whether SBC have any funds to improve the situation in this period of forced 'austerity' is another question, however there seems to be plenty of money around for remodelling roundabouts on Great Western Way, so I would suggest that the coffers are not as empty as some might have you believe (quite a large sum was I believe also squandered on a wi-fi project that has yet to bear much fruit - perhaps 'ee' will get there first with commercial 4G?!).


Incidently the Limes Avenue stop that Mr Kumra is stood at no longer has a service, but the Pinehurst Circle stop, which is about 200m away around to the right in the background is still served by the 11/12. Buses run from there to Larchmore Close at the top of Thames Avenue, which is about 200m from the nearest post office.
The major cost saving has come from combining the previous service 11 and 24 routes into a combined service 11/12. Looking through the timetables this has produced about a 30% reduction in vehicle requirements during the off-peak period with associated savings in the cost of drivers and fuel, and potentially further overall savings from being able to undertake more vehicle maintenance in this off-peak period, rather than out of hours. Given the joint pressures of reducing reimbursement from Local Authorities for the 'free' passes that many bus users have and the reduction in 'Bus Service Operators Grant' that all operators are facing, this looks like a pragmatic solution. I believe that the service changes have had little impact on most customers. The vast majority of customers on the 11/12 travel to/from the town centre, for which the new 11/12 provide a 15 minute frequency service, direct links to the GWH have been maintained and the early evening service has been improved - previously there was a gap in service 11 from the town centre to Haydon Wick between 18:23 and 19:00, the new 11/12 service provides a bus every 15 mins until 19:07 and then as per the previous evening service. The removal of the section of route along Beech Avenue also means that it is no longer necessary to be bounced over a long series of 'speed tables' which are neither comfortable for passengers, or presumably very good for the buses either. With any service rationalisation there are bound to be winners and losers. In this case those who are worse off are the minority who made intermediate journeys on the old services 11/24, such as Mr Kumra and anyone who used service 24 to access employment at Kembrey Park. However Thamesdown are a commercial company and hence need to be profitable in order to remain in business. Any gap in the public transport network is the responsibility of the Borough Council and hence I would suggest that it is to them that any petition is directed. Whether SBC have any funds to improve the situation in this period of forced 'austerity' is another question, however there seems to be plenty of money around for remodelling roundabouts on Great Western Way, so I would suggest that the coffers are not as empty as some might have you believe (quite a large sum was I believe also squandered on a wi-fi project that has yet to bear much fruit - perhaps 'ee' will get there first with commercial 4G?!). Incidently the Limes Avenue stop that Mr Kumra is stood at no longer has a service, but the Pinehurst Circle stop, which is about 200m away around to the right in the background is still served by the 11/12. Buses run from there to Larchmore Close at the top of Thames Avenue, which is about 200m from the nearest post office. John Smith II

1:03pm Fri 18 Jan 13

Fox in Exile says...

Any bus at all would be an improvement at the minute. Just about to walk the 4 miles home, Thanks Thamesdown
Any bus at all would be an improvement at the minute. Just about to walk the 4 miles home, Thanks Thamesdown Fox in Exile

1:13pm Fri 18 Jan 13

house on the hill says...

""“I am a pensioner who has paid my taxes all my life and this is the present we get from Thamesdown in the new year.” ""

I think you find that is basic economics, the law of supply and demand. And a lot of other people have paid thier taxes too and dont have a bus that goes anywhere near them! Sorry but a really stupid statement and just shows how many people don't look further than the end of their own nose.
""“I am a pensioner who has paid my taxes all my life and this is the present we get from Thamesdown in the new year.” "" I think you find that is basic economics, the law of supply and demand. And a lot of other people have paid thier taxes too and dont have a bus that goes anywhere near them! Sorry but a really stupid statement and just shows how many people don't look further than the end of their own nose. house on the hill

1:13pm Fri 18 Jan 13

rmc001 says...

Fox in Exile wrote:
Any bus at all would be an improvement at the minute. Just about to walk the 4 miles home, Thanks Thamesdown
Yes, thanks a lot Thamesdown Transport! If I'd have known you were closing early I'd have purchased a single ticket this morning instead of a Day Rider!
[quote][p][bold]Fox in Exile[/bold] wrote: Any bus at all would be an improvement at the minute. Just about to walk the 4 miles home, Thanks Thamesdown[/p][/quote]Yes, thanks a lot Thamesdown Transport! If I'd have known you were closing early I'd have purchased a single ticket this morning instead of a Day Rider! rmc001

4:24pm Fri 18 Jan 13

Localboy86 says...

What have slinkys and pensioners got in common? They're both useless but make u smile when they fall down the stairs. Bum bum cha. I hope the snow holds up so house on the hills' meals on wheels can't get to him
What have slinkys and pensioners got in common? They're both useless but make u smile when they fall down the stairs. Bum bum cha. I hope the snow holds up so house on the hills' meals on wheels can't get to him Localboy86

4:44pm Fri 18 Jan 13

tucker81 says...

Lazy gits
Lazy gits tucker81

6:39pm Fri 18 Jan 13

Sashstaff says...

It's for people like this that bus services and DLA were vital.... but we all know how this government and that LA feels about those at the bottom of the pile.

Survival of the richest, sorry fittest!
It's for people like this that bus services and DLA were vital.... but we all know how this government and that LA feels about those at the bottom of the pile. Survival of the richest, sorry fittest! Sashstaff

2:44am Sat 19 Jan 13

house on the hill says...

!!Localboy86 says...
4:24pm Fri 18 Jan 13

What have slinkys and pensioners got in common? They're both useless but make u smile when they fall down the stairs. Bum bum cha. I hope the snow holds up so house on the hills' meals on wheels can't get to him”""

I have no idea what that is all about Local boy. My comment was a general one about how everyone forgets about those worse off and thinks the world revolves around them, not a personal slur like yours.

And what is with the meals on wheels. I cant remember the last time i used the bus as i am lucky enough to have a really nice car to drive to work in. And i look after myself thank you so clearly your perception of me is way off the mark.
!!Localboy86 says... 4:24pm Fri 18 Jan 13 What have slinkys and pensioners got in common? They're both useless but make u smile when they fall down the stairs. Bum bum cha. I hope the snow holds up so house on the hills' meals on wheels can't get to him”"" I have no idea what that is all about Local boy. My comment was a general one about how everyone forgets about those worse off and thinks the world revolves around them, not a personal slur like yours. And what is with the meals on wheels. I cant remember the last time i used the bus as i am lucky enough to have a really nice car to drive to work in. And i look after myself thank you so clearly your perception of me is way off the mark. house on the hill

10:41am Sat 19 Jan 13

Localboy86 says...

house on the hill wrote:
!!Localboy86 says...
4:24pm Fri 18 Jan 13

What have slinkys and pensioners got in common? They're both useless but make u smile when they fall down the stairs. Bum bum cha. I hope the snow holds up so house on the hills' meals on wheels can't get to him”""

I have no idea what that is all about Local boy. My comment was a general one about how everyone forgets about those worse off and thinks the world revolves around them, not a personal slur like yours.

And what is with the meals on wheels. I cant remember the last time i used the bus as i am lucky enough to have a really nice car to drive to work in. And i look after myself thank you so clearly your perception of me is way off the mark.
Not so sure, all you do is moan on this site so assumed you are the stereotypical oap
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: !!Localboy86 says... 4:24pm Fri 18 Jan 13 What have slinkys and pensioners got in common? They're both useless but make u smile when they fall down the stairs. Bum bum cha. I hope the snow holds up so house on the hills' meals on wheels can't get to him”"" I have no idea what that is all about Local boy. My comment was a general one about how everyone forgets about those worse off and thinks the world revolves around them, not a personal slur like yours. And what is with the meals on wheels. I cant remember the last time i used the bus as i am lucky enough to have a really nice car to drive to work in. And i look after myself thank you so clearly your perception of me is way off the mark.[/p][/quote]Not so sure, all you do is moan on this site so assumed you are the stereotypical oap Localboy86

3:23pm Sun 20 Jan 13

house on the hill says...

I dont "moan" as you put it, I just took my head out of my a55 a long time ago and look at the realities of life rather then the narrow "rose tinted spectacle" view that so many have. So many people life their life by double standards and expect others to live their life to a higher standard than they are prepared to and think the world owes them a living and more.

And good to see that you are so open and prepared to let others have their opinion as well as your own and dont stereoype in any way!!!!
I dont "moan" as you put it, I just took my head out of my a55 a long time ago and look at the realities of life rather then the narrow "rose tinted spectacle" view that so many have. So many people life their life by double standards and expect others to live their life to a higher standard than they are prepared to and think the world owes them a living and more. And good to see that you are so open and prepared to let others have their opinion as well as your own and dont stereoype in any way!!!! house on the hill

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