A ROW is brewing between bus company Stagecoach and Swindon Council over the decision to change local bus services.

Suzanne Allen, 50, who has been campaigning against cuts to the number 54 service, went to hand in a 628 signature petition to Stagecoach yesterday.

But company bosses laid the blame at the feet of the council for cutting funding for the route and advised her to hand the petition in at the civic offices.

Miss Allen, of Godolphin Close in Freshbrook, said: “I went to Stagecoach and they were very nice. I spoke to their operations manager and another man.

“I told them that I have got quite emotionally involved in this, and I have heard some very sad stories.

“I told them that what I wanted them to consider was putting the number 54 back on once an hour.

“But they said at this moment in time it won’t happen.

“They said it was down to the money and that the council was no longer funding things.”

A spokesman for Stagecoach said earlier this week that the changes were ‘entirely down to Swindon Borough Council’.

He said when the number of pensioners using the route increased, the council stopped subsidising the route meaning it was no longer viable for Stagecoach to run.

But a spokesman for Swindon Council said it was not fair to blame the changes to the number 54 on the council. He said: “Stagecoach received government funding to help them build the route up and make it commercially viable, which expired in August last year. They have now made a purely commercial decision to alter the service.

“In an ideal world we would like to be able to step in and replace the funding, but we simply don’t have the money.

“Our budgets are under severe pressure, particularly in covering the cost of concessionary bus travel, where we have been under-funded by the Government.

“It’s not widely recognised that the council provides financial support for a large number of bus services, including some run by Stagecoach, which brings benefits to people and communities across the borough.”

Miss Allen said she will now hand the petition over to the mayor, Coun David Wren.