District councillor fears 'lives will be lost' if school bus is cut

A LABOUR district councillor has said that he fears lives will be lost if the bus service from Sion Hill to Wolverley School is cut.

Adrian Sewell said at a Wyre Forest District Council overview and scrutiny committee meeting last night that any county councillor who voted for the proposals to withdraw the bus subsidy for the route "will have blood on their hands" as children would have to walk down a busy main road if the service is lost.

Worcestershire 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.

Mr Sewell told the meeting: "I have grave concerns about the accessibility and safety of children going to Wolverley School.

"It really upsets me that we've sunk to this level.

"I genuinely fear we're going to lose lives. That bus route can't be touched.

"Anybody who votes for it, I believe, will have blood on their hands. We have a duty of care to ensure that children get to school safely."

Conservative councillor Nicky Gale raised concerns that cutting bus services into Kidderminster will affect employment opportunities for people living on the outskirts of Wyre Forest.

She added: "We're supposed to be a green council, we're reliant on public transport and that isn't what they county is saying to us."

A number of "at risk" bus routes were highlighted by the committee including services for areas with sheltered accommodation where people were less likely to own a car, tourist destinations such as Callow HIll, sites recently allocated for development and a number of school bus routes.

Committee members will send their consultation response to the county council to express their concerns.

The consultation runs until January 17.

Comments (2)

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6:08pm Fri 20 Dec 13

stour67 says...

Why do we still have the number 3 bus route with 2 buses following each other 1 from diamond and 1 from whittles at the same time as today ie waiting at traffic lights at vale road today midday , and if council are subing them then 1 needs to cut as they both only had a couple of passengers.
Why do we still have the number 3 bus route with 2 buses following each other 1 from diamond and 1 from whittles at the same time as today ie waiting at traffic lights at vale road today midday , and if council are subing them then 1 needs to cut as they both only had a couple of passengers. stour67

8:41pm Sat 21 Dec 13

Green Olive says...

The number 3 routes is not subsidised by the county council. The fact that 2 operators are allowed to compete on the same route is all due to Mrs Thatcher who deregulated the bus service in the nineteen eighties. This led to bus companies fighting over the profitable routes while the only way to keep the socially necessary, but unprofitable routes going was for the council to subsidise them. Local campaigns may save a few routes but the only way to stop the decline in bus services is to return to having a single operator running all services. This could be a council operated service or a private company taking on an area covering all routes including profitable and socially necessary.
The number 3 routes is not subsidised by the county council. The fact that 2 operators are allowed to compete on the same route is all due to Mrs Thatcher who deregulated the bus service in the nineteen eighties. This led to bus companies fighting over the profitable routes while the only way to keep the socially necessary, but unprofitable routes going was for the council to subsidise them. Local campaigns may save a few routes but the only way to stop the decline in bus services is to return to having a single operator running all services. This could be a council operated service or a private company taking on an area covering all routes including profitable and socially necessary. Green Olive

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