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Bus commuters rally to oppose service changes

By Maryam_Qaiser  |  Posted: February 28, 2014

Amber Powell, who lives in Newnham, is not very  pleased with the changes to the bus timetable

Amber Powell, who lives in Newnham, is not very pleased with the changes to the bus timetable

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WORRIED residents in Newnham-on-Severn have stepped up their campaign to save their bus services.

Many people who live in the village usually travel to and from Gloucester using the Number 23 which goes from the city travelling through to Coleford.

Amber Powell, 21, who lives in Newnham, has set up a Facebook page to oppose the changes.

She said: “This is going to affect a lot of people. They currently have a bus leaving Gloucester at 6.10pm but it is changing and the last service for Number 23 will be at 5.40pm now.

“I use it every day because of work. My main concern is that my partner and my sister’s partner work late and they will have to use the Number 30 or 31 bus which will drop them halfway to Cinderford and they will have to walk 45 minutes home or I will have to pick them up, which will mean I would not be able to go to the gym. People would have to give up certain commitments. Walking in the dark for 45 minutes is not nice for anyone.

“It is very upsetting to know that so many people will be affected by this and it just feels like we are not cared about.”

Stagecoach will be changing many services in the Forest of Dean from March 30. They have confirmed there will be significant changes to the 23 service, particularly at peak times.

Some evening journeys have been withdrawn due to low usage. The last buses from Gloucester towards Lydney and from Coleford towards Gloucester are now earlier. There are also minor changes to times on Sundays.

However, people can use the Number 30 or 31 bus which will run from Gloucester to Cinderford on to Coleford. On Mondays to Saturdays, the last bus from Gloucester will now leave at 11.05pm.

Claire Haines, who uses the Number 23 to visit her gran after work, is also against the changes. She said: “I work in the city centre and catch the 23 service at least three times a week to go to Newnham to visit my gran.

“I am concerned about the changes because I do not finish work until 6pm and I usually get the 6.10pm. I will have to take the 30 or 31 and ask a friend in Cinderford to drop me the rest of the way, which is not always convenient. My gran is quite isolated anyway and now I can only go to see her once or twice a week. I have not told her this yet because she will just worry.”

Eddie Roberts, 65, from Newnham, said: “The changes will affect me because I often visit my friend in hospital, so I get the bus according to the visiting times. I have only lived here for five years and all my friends live in Gloucester which is where my social life is. The 30 and 31 only takes us half way, I will have to walk at least three miles.”

A spokesman from Stagecoach said: “During the past few months, we have been undertaking a major review of the bus network in the Forest of Dean and Ross-on-Wye areas and those routes that link to Gloucester and Hereford.

“We have also been analysing ticket machine data and carrying out roadside surveys. Some routes are very popular and are carrying more and more passengers, however some journeys are much less busy.

“We have also been reviewing suggestions from customers and our staff in addition to checking on which routes need their times adjusting to fit with current traffic congestion.”

For details of what is changing, visit stagecoachbus.com/west.

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