NEARLY 1,000 people have signed the Save Our Buses campaign to oppose threatened bus routes in Wyre Forest.

The campaign, organised by the Wyre Forest Green Party, has also helped people to send 630 letters to councillors, fill in 180 council consultation forms and has handed out 520 information leaflets.

The county council voted to scrap a £3 million taxpayers' subsidy for public transport, which puts 88 services on 43 routes across Worcestershire "at risk" unless private companies take on the services, with higher prices or reduced pick-ups.

Stephen Brown, Wyre Forest Green Party spokesman, said "This is a loud and clear message from local people to the council to leave our buses alone."

The public consultation ended on Friday but campaigners say they will continue to collect signatures and send letters to councillors before a final decision is made.

Campaigners are also calling for Worcestershire County Council to look at alternative models to save bus services such as renegotiating contracts with bus companies.

Mr Brown added: "Simply cutting bus services without regard for the vulnerable and those without cars means the local economy will suffer and it is totally short-sighted.

"It will isolate people and undermine the social fabric of our communities running contrary to the prevention agenda and equality.

"The young unemployed and elderly are hit hardest. The council needs to be more forward thinking and be creative.

"Rather than simply looking at cuts in an ideological way to save money and to abdicate its statutory duty where these services would not otherwise be met, I challenge Worcestershire County Council to use this duty and do what Northamptonshire did.

"Worcestershire should use the cuts as a bargaining chip to renegotiate bus contracts in order to save the commercially unprofitable routes.

"Other councils have chosen to protect supported bus services rather than do what this council is doing and cut its entire budget. It is scandalous what our council are up to and they are completely out of touch with ordinary people."