ARTHRITIS sufferer Maureen Law is struggling to attend medical appointments due to bus cuts in Swindon and the surrounding area.

The 56-year-old from Royal Wootton Bassett, says the fact there are now fewer number 54 buses running from Swindon to the town via Station Road and New Road is making her life difficult.

She explained: “I am partially disabled and I can’t walk long distance, especially here as I live on a hill.

“I have a difficulty walking due to my arthritis, but I’m not the only one. I had major surgery in November and since then it’s hard for me to walk.

“The solution for me is to go the hospital early in the morning and hang around there, which is not ideal. I will no longer be able to make afternoon appointments, I’ll have to either struggle up a hill or just not go as I can’t afford taxis.”

The Stagecoach bus service has recently changed its timetables due to a lack of passenger numbers.

The company said on its website: “The 15:55 bus from Swindon and the 15:03 and 16:33 from Royal Wootton Bassett is withdrawn. Most other journeys will run at the new times to help improve our punctuality.”

For Maureen, the situation has become progressively worse since she moved to Wootton Bassett three-and-half years ago.

She said: “I’ve emailed my local MP, James Gray, and I haven’t heard from him. Where I live, you have to stop halfway because you are exhausted and a lot of people living here are not ready to pay for taxis.

“There used to be some buses going up and down the hill when I first arrived in the area. They are trying to save money, but it affects us. Most of the people I meet at the bus stop are pensioners and do not have much choice.

“I have a signed a contract for three years so I’m kind of stuck and cannot move out.”

Stagecoach managing director Rupert Cox said the company introduced the number 54 service about two years ago in order to complement the 55.

He said: “Usage of the new journey (54) was never particularly high and during 2018, we reduced the number of journey and replaced them with extra journeys on service 55.

“At the same time, we invested about £2.5 million in brand new buses for all journeys and replaced them with extra journeys on service 55.

“From today, we have made some further changes to services 54 and 55 with more journeys being converted from 54 to 55. This is a result of more and more customers choosing to use the 55 compared to the 54.”