Friday, 27 November 2020

2,000 people back saving bus services

MORE than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for subsidised bus services in Henley to be saved

MORE than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for subsidised bus services in Henley to be saved.

Donna Crook started the campaign in November because she was concerned that her 87-year-old father Peter Roberts faced being housebound without a bus service or having to use taxis.

Oxfordshire County Council is expected to approve cuts of £3.7million from its subsidised transport services budget next month.

Ms Crook, from Henley, handed the petition to Henley MP John Howell during his surgery at Henley town hall on Saturday along with other concerned residents.

She said: “I only expected 200 signatures to start with because I didn’t know so many people were bothered. Now we have more than 2,000. The level of support has been brilliant.

“I speak to pensioners in the town and they say they would be stuck without this service — it’s a lifeline to them. If they did not have it they would be stuck or have to pay for expensive taxis. I would have to give up work to look after my Dad, which I don’t want to do.”

Mr Roberts, of Trust Corner, who suffers from dementia, is a regular user of the buses run by Thames Travel and Whites Coaches in Henley. These include the services to Wallingford and Woodcote as well as the internal town services.

They are among 118 subsidised routes across the county that will lose their funding if the cuts go ahead. It will be left to bus companies to decide whether to continue running the services.

Rev Duncan Carter, vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Greys Hill, signed the petition.

He said: “The problem is it is elderly and vulnerable people that will suffer the most.”

Keith Knight, who takes a bus from his home at Swiss Farm to Henley leisure centre to use the pool, which helps him manage his angina, said: “It’s disgusting cutting the bus service. There should be another solution.

“My wife suffers with a mobility problem so she struggles to walk uphill. The bus drivers in Henley are really good — they know where people live and stop outside their houses so they don’t have to walk so far.”

Frank Brown, 46, from Rotherfield Greys, used the bus to get to and from hospital appointments for cancer treatment.

He said: “I was diagnosed 18 months ago and the bus was a real lifeline to help me get my treatments, which have just finished.

“If I had not had it I would have been in deep trouble, having to pay for expensive taxis. I know there are others in Rotherfield Greys who would be stuck.”

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