THERE are still five days left to have your say before timetable changes for Thamesdown Transport become reality.

Some residents are unhappy at proposed changes to bus services due to be released in October, especially people living in Walcot and Park North as there would be no direct bus route to the Great Western Hospital.

Retired Derek Horne, from Frobisher Drive, in Walcot East, thinks that the planned changes to the number 20 and 21 services are a disastrous move.

"We have got together a petition and we hope it will be signed by about 50 or 60 residents," said the 55-year-old.

"This proposed change means two sheltered housing complexes, one in Walcot East, Harold Thorpe Gardens, and the other in Park North, George Selman Gardens, will lose the services to GWH, and to the shops in Cavendish Square, Park South.

"This change also means the other elderly residents and disabled people in Walcot and Park North would be affected.

"The only way they will be able to get to the hospital would be by getting a bus to Fleming Way and crossing the road via the tunnel to get a bus to the hospital.

"They propose that the number 21 goes past Frobisher Drive and along to Whitbourne Avenue and Cavendish Square and then the hospital but I cannot see the reason for not going down Frobisher Drive, then round to Cavendish Square as it does now."

Residents say that it would put an extra 30 minutes on the journey time and would inconvenience those who are elderly, disabled or families with children.

Thamesdown has received about 150 responses about these timetable changes. Of that number, 10 residents have complained about this particular service.

MP for North Swindon Michael Wills has also called on Thamesdown Transport and Swindon Council to re-think their planned bus route changes.

He said: "Most of the proposed changes will leave areas of Swindon with reduced bus services, despite the fact that Thamesdown Transport appears to be profitable enough to pay Swindon Council £250,000 a year in dividends. If the council gave back this bonus, Thamesdown Transport might be able to keep some of the services it is planning to cut.

"Many constituents have already expressed their dismay about these proposals to me and I have now written to other residents affected to ask for their views.

"I hope that both Thamesdown Transport and Swindon Council will re-think these proposals."

The bus company says that the changes to the 20 and 21 services are for timekeeping reasons.

Thamesdown Transport's managing director Paul Jenkins, said: "Our proposals relate to the fact that they cannot keep to time on the existing timetables owing to increasing traffic congestion.

"We operate the routes under contract to the council, which specifies the timetable, and so we advised them that either additional vehicles would be needed or the route would have to be shortened.

"As they have no additional funding available, we are proposing to re-route the services just to serve Park South, which will shorten the route and get the services back on time.

"While this would benefit the majority of people using the services, I acknowledge that an unwelcome consequence would be to require people from Park North and Walcot East to change buses to reach the GWH.

"I have to say we are sorry for the relatively small number this change could affect.

"We are still in the consultation stage and will be talking to the council before we finalise these decisions."