September 26th, 2016

Romsley villagers launch petition to save 147 bus which First plans to axe

Romsley villagers launch petition to save 147 bus which First plans to axe Romsley villagers launch petition to save 147 bus which First plans to axe
Updated: 6:21 pm, Mar 10, 2016

RESIDENTS in Romsley have hit out at the decision to axe a lifeline bus service which villagers depend on.

It comes after First Midland Bus announced that from April 10 it would be scrapping the 147 which takes passengers from Romsley to Halesowen and Worcester, via Droitwich.

And it means some residents will now have more than a two mile trek to essential services such as doctors.

A petition which has been launched in a bid to save the service has already accrued 275 signatures and a protest along the bus route is also being planned to show how essential the service is the to residents.

147 user Lauren Bolton said: “If we have no bus service in Romsley I will not be able to get to and from town, taxis are to expensive and it takes an hour to walk into town and even longer to walk back as its up hill.

“The elderly people are going become prisoners in the village as they rely on the bus to go shopping and to visit the doctors etc.”

Jenny Kendall said: “I am taking my GCSEs this year I was planning on using this service to take me to exams at school however if this stop I can’t.”

Parish councillor David Powell, who has also been campaigning on the issue, said one of the worst aspects was that residents were not consulted on the decision by the bus company or told about it by Worcestershire County Council.

“This bus is the parish’s lifeline to Halesowen.

“We have already lost the 007 bus and without this one we will have no bus.

“Elderly and vulnerable people will have to face a long walk on a very steep hill or pay for an expensive taxi.

“This is going to have a massive impact on the residents,” he added.

First are planning a revised route for the 144A bus to go through Worcester and Catshill but councillors have said this will not help the people of Romsley.

A First Bus spokesman said: “We took the service on in 2014 after another operator withdrew from the service with the intention of giving it a try and seeing if we could successfully run it.

“Currently it is not carrying many people and is operating at two thirds of its cost so we have made the unfortunate decision to withdraw the service.

“It is no longer financially viable however if there was support from local authorities towards the funding of the service we would definitely consider tendering for the work.”

Coun John Smith, cabinet member for Highways said: “Whilst we regret the need for First to reduce their commercial service provision for certain areas of Worcestershire, we understand the need to ensure commercial resilience of their operation.

“Officers are considering the implications of these changes.”

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