5:30am Thursday 9th January 2014
CUTS to bus services around Swindon introduced this week will make people’s journeys to town and the hospital harder, says pensioner Linda Meadows.
The 62-year-old, of Liden, suffers with cancer of the spine and needs to plan her routes around the town centre when shopping.
The changes to the Thames-down 13 and 14 services have made her trips more difficult, as she has to go back to Fleming Way to catch a return bus, rather than catching one from Commercial Road or Regent Circus.
She said: “When you know you are going to have a lot of shopping you want to plan your route, and if you have lots of bags to carry it’s a long way to walk.
“Not everybody has a car but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to go shopping, not just to the town centre but to the big Tesco and Sainsbury’s. We have high unemployment in Swindon but they keep cutting bus services making it harder for people to get to where there is work.”
The changes come on top of a number of cuts that took place throughout 2013 as a result of funding cuts and a need for better time-keeping.
The loss of the number 20 service from Fleming Way to the Great Western Hospital was one such cut which have made attending weekend appointments at the Great Western Hospital difficult.
This is because rather than catching the number 20 to the GWH on weekends – not far from her home in Liden – Linda now must take the 13 or 14 services to Fleming Way before catching the number 12 service.
She said: “I had to cancel my appointment because it was on a Saturday and I couldn’t get there.
“The GWH is trying to have patients come in for appointments at weekends because they are really stretched but they haven’t thought about how people are going to get there.”
Thamesdown managing director Paul Jenkins, said: “The route and timing changes on services 13 and 14 have been introduced to improve timekeeping on the route, however the frequency of the buses stays at every 10 minutes.
“Unfortunately this has meant that Services 13 and 14 no longer stop at Regent Circus. Passengers heading towards Eldene and Liden now need to go to Fleming Way to catch their bus home. “We are sorry for any inconvenience caused, however the time savings that the new route brings will hopefully ensure the services are more punctual and reliable.
“We have had to introduce a number of changes to services in recent months, partly in response to the council’s new bus support strategy, but mainly to ensure they are running efficientl.
“These followed on from the end of NHS funding for the hospital bus services which prompted the changes in January 2013.”
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