In an open letter to Stagecoach, a Stroud District Councillor is demanding “marked improvements” in rural bus services, saying residents feel angry, let down, and ignored.
Cllr Steve Hynd, Green Party councillor for The Stanleys, claims there has been “a significant worsening” in services recently, with Stagecoach buses often arriving very late or not turning up at all.
“The timing of this couldn’t be worse,” he said. “Efficient public transport is more important than ever, as rising petrol and energy prices make it unaffordable for many residents to continue to run cars. More than ever, residents in the villages rely on the bus for getting to school, shops and, crucially, seeing friends and family.
“One resident told me he regretted moving here because the unreliable bus services mean his child can’t always get to school on time. Selsley, King’s Stanley, Leonard Stanley and Stanley Downton are beautiful villages and it saddens me beyond words that anyone should regret moving here.”
Cllr Hynd has written to Stagecoach highlighting the residents’ concerns about how often the 66 service is either late or gets cancelled entirely. He said:
“As a Green councillor I am a huge advocate for public transport and I would love more people to use the bus instead of driving. But if we want families to use the bus for schools, shops, doctor appointments and so forth we need a regular and reliable service. Every time a child is late for school or an elderly resident misses a doctor’s appointment because of the inefficient service, people will be increasingly forced to use their cars – or phone for taxis, pushing many of them further into financial difficulty.”
Cllr Hynd added: “The current standard of service is simply unacceptable. Stagecoach has already axed the direct service to Gloucester, which left many residents distraught, and now its other routes seem to be deteriorating. Stagecoach must seize the opportunity to improve the regularity and punctuality of its services, in order to prove to residents that getting the bus is a practical and attractive alternative to using cars.”