A COMMUNITY transport scheme is being axed, leaving elderly residents shocked and isolated.
Pensioners who use the TaxiBus service were stunned when they phoned up to book a taxi and were told the service was ending within weeks.
The Wrexham Council rural TaxiBus service provides transport for more isolated communities that are not located on conventional public transport routes.
Brenda Dulson, 77, from Tallarn Green, said: “I was shocked when the taxi company said the scheme was finishing at the end of the month. We are very isolated here. There are no shops, there is no post office, I’ve got no car and the nearest bus stop is miles away. We rely on this service.
“Taxis are very expensive; it would cost £20 for a round trip to Wrexham.
“We could share a taxi, but it’s not convenient for everyone to go at the same time.”
The scheme, vital to the elderly, is the only one of its kind in the area and will affect between 55 to 60 people who use it regularly.
A TaxiBus journey can currently be made by residents in qualifying areas to Wrexham or other approved neighbouring villages.
It covers rural areas such as Rhos y Madoc, Pen y Lan, Erbistock, Ridley Wood, Isycoed, Bowling Bank, Talwrn Green, New Brighton and Worthenbury.
Pensioner Ray Bithell, from Worthenbury, added: “We understand the council need to make cuts but they are giving us nothing.
“At the least we’d need to use it once a week for clothes or food shopping.”
Wrexham and Prestige Taxis has been providing the transport in conjunction with Wrexham Council for seven years but the firm has been notified its contract will finish at the end of the month.
Mark Coates, of Wrexham and Prestige Taxis, said: “Residents can call us at certain times of the day to be taken into town to do their shopping or collect their pension, and they pay a percentage of the fare, about £1.40.
“The council have just given notice that they are terminating the contract on March 29, so we’ve instructed our receptionists to tell customers who call that the scheme is ending.
“Customers weren’t consulted and seem quite upset about that. We would certainly have liked to continue the service, it’s a loss of some business.”
A Wrexham Council spokesman confirmed the service is being axed as part of its £500,000 transport budget cuts, agreed by the executive board in January.
“The council has recently set its budget for 2014-15 which contained £13 million of cuts to services for the coming year.
“Amongst those cuts was almost £500,000 of subsidised transport costs which includes the taxi service.
“The council regrets that it has had to make such cuts however, the subsidised transport bill was one which could no longer be supported given the financial challenged faced by the council.”