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Public meeting to discuss bus service cuts

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A public meeting will take place at Stroud Brewery this evening, Tuesday, 6.30pm to discuss bus service cuts.

The 67 route between Stroud and Bussage is one such cut and from February 19th there will be no buses in the evenings, no buses on Sundays and half the number of buses during service times.

Representatives from Stagecoach, along with local councillors and the MP for Stroud, Siobhan Baillie have all been invited to attend.

Jenny Inglis, who is involved in the campaign, said: “We want as many people as possible to come along to the public meeting. I really feel we should be adding bus services, not taking them away. In this time of austerity, we understand budgets are beyond stretched, but the trouble is that cutting buses disproportionately affects the lowest-earning families the most as they are the least likely to have cars. It’s the opposite of levelling up. 

“It’s also disastrous for our carbon goals. And it’s awful for people’s mental health when they can’t get out to socialise. 

“It ruins the economy by meaning people (often the lowest paid people) can’t get to their jobs and it means businesses can’t recruit staff. In short, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, other than a very short-sighted cost-cutting exercise. 

“If a private company is going to run a public service, they should be compelled to run the routes that are needed, not just the most profitable ones.”

Several residents have spoken up about how the cuts will impact their lives. Lorna, who cannot drive for medical reasons, added: “The only way I can take my teenage son out of Bussage on a Sunday is the 67 Stagecoach bus. Ever since this started running about a year ago, we have caught the 8:58 to Stroud where both enjoy a cafe breakfast together. This is not as severe as losing a job but it is precious family time my son and I spend every week and there will be no other way out of Bussage on a Sunday for non-car owners, which can lead to loneliness and mental health problems.

“By enabling people to get out, buses help the local economy as we can earn and spend locally. They improve health by enabling all ages to have independence and confidence and not sit alone at home getting depressed and inactive. They also vastly decrease pollution and stop roads falling apart, as even those with cars can leave them behind and enjoy relaxing, fun bus rides.”

Mum Mel said: “My sixteen-year-old will no longer be able to get the bus home from work if the proposed cuts go ahead.”

Protest organiser Sophia says her job is now under threat: “The cuts will mean I am stranded halfway home, so I will have to leave my job. It’s so upsetting and frustrating.”

Hereward Corbett, a local businessperson, who runs two bookshops in the county, said: “The cuts in the services between Cheltenham, Stroud and Nailsworth have cost our business thousands of pounds over the last couple of years. We’ve worked really hard to retain loyal staff who commute. And of course, those who can’t travel can’t spend their money.

People who are concerned about local bus services disappearing are invited to attend the meeting and to sign the petition.

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