Protestors gathered outside Stroud Sub Rooms on Saturday morning, opposing cuts to Stagecoach bus services that come into effect on February 19th.
Organiser Jenny Inglis, who lives in Thrupp, said: “My eldest is 16 and uses the bus to get back from their evening shift at a restaurant in Stroud and they’re cutting all the evening services.
“That means they won’t be able to get back and they’ll have to give up their job. They’re also cutting our Sunday services completely and which again affects my teenagers because they often go out socialise and go meet friends or catch a bus into Stroud and then on to Cheltenham.
“I hope this is going to raise awareness of the necessity of buses and the strength of feeling of people around Stroud of how much people rely on buses, people with medical conditions, those who can’t drive, and the elderly. Also, young people trying to access jobs and education.
“It should be a public service and it’s being run as a commercial profitable business and Stagecoach are saying, ‘well, this bit isn’t profitable, let’s just cut that,’ but the effect on people’s lives and livelihoods is astronomical.”
Tricia Watson, District Councillor for Chalford, added: “We are losing 60 per cent of the timetable in just one week’s time.
“We are going to be totally cut off on a Sunday. We won’t have any bus services in the evenings, so people are losing their jobs, people with issues, either mental or physical, are being disproportionately impacted.
“After all these cancellations, even people that had given up their cars and moved to buses – which we all know we have to do for the climate – they’ve had to get the cars back, otherwise they would have lost their jobs, so it’s absolutely wrecking people’s lives.
“We can’t understand how Stagecoach have been allowed to cut these services, and how neither the council nor the traffic commissioner has raised a question about what these people are going to do.
“The solution has got to be a national one – to provide a decent bus service for all. We get less than half what Londoners get spent on them per person for the public transport service. We can’t let the private sector dictate what services they provide. It shouldn’t all be about profit.
“Yes, they need to cover their costs and they need to pay their staff a decent wage, but they don’t need to pay shareholders who have nothing to do with the bus service, they need to provide a service to the residents and to the businesses to keep our communities alive.”
Melville Petrie was part of a contingent of Cranham residents protesting about cuts to the 66 bus route will no longer serve stops along Painswick Road between Painswick and Brockworth, Monday to Saturday: “We’re going to be cut off completely. We’re in a situation where the kids won’t get to school, students won’t be able to get to college. The elderly won’t be able to get to hospital appointments – we’ll be completely cut off.
“I take the bus into Stroud and into Cheltenham, but now, like everybody else, I will have to jump into my car and increase my carbon footprint and personal cost.”
Full details of changes to the timetable can be found here: ServiceUpdatesArticle | Stagecoach (stagecoachbus.com)