ELDERLY residents in Kidderminster say they rarely leave the house since the only bus service serving their estate was axed.

The number 2 Diamond bus stopped serving the Habberley Estate last September in response to complaints about the service's punctuality.

Charity Wyre Forest Dial-a-Ride was commissioned to provide a community bus service between Habberley Road and Kidderminster town centre two days a week, but pensioners who live on the estate say they have lost their independence and rarely see friends since the number 2 was discontinued.

Resident Leslie Leek, aged 76, told The Shuttle: "I used to go into town every day to get out of the house for a couple of hours.

"Since the bus was stopped, it's taken away friendships. People used to use the bus to meet up with each other in town. Now I hardly ever see them.

"The Dial-a-Ride service is all well and good but I want to go out when I want to - not when someone tells me I have to.

"It feels like someone has put a brick wall around the Habberley Estate. We feel tripped."

Neighbour Pearl Leigh, aged 69, added: "When I moved here in 2011 I had my husband and he had the car, but I lost him in 2014 and all my family live further afield.

"I don't have people to rely on and I have health problems so the bus means a lot to me.

"Now I have to fork out for taxis that I can't afford, so I don't really go out much at all."

A new petition to reinstate the service has received more than 300 signatures in two weeks.

Habberley South councillor Leigh Whitehouse, who launched the petition, said: "The bus has been gone for fast-approaching a year and it's been forgotten about, but residents are still suffering as a result.

"The elderly have lost their independence and there are parents struggling to get their children to school."

Cllr Whitehouse is calling on Worcestershire County Council to reconsider subsidising a bus service for the Habberley Estate.

However Councillor Alan Amos, cabinet member for highways, said the petition "should be directed to Diamond Bus" and urged residents to share their views on the council's Passenger Transport Strategy consultation at worcestershire.gov.uk/passengertransportstrategy.

A Diamond Bus spokesman said: "If Worcestershire County Council wish to tender the service, we would bid to operate as a tendered service. However, we will not be considering any future commercial routes in the area."