Challenge over plan to axe bus service

Reporter:

Matt Jones

THE decision to axe a subsidised bus service used by workers and elderly people has been challenged.

Flintshire Council is to withdraw a number of Deeside Shuttle services and scrap the shuttle bus to Clwyd Theatr Cymru.

But angry members of the Labour and New Independents groups have called-in the decision over the Deeside Shuttle and the matter will be discussed during a crunch meeting of the environment scrutiny committee on Thursday.

The shuttle to Deeside Industrial Park is generally used by low income workers and about 100 commuters a week will be affected.

The withdrawal of the theatre bus could hit thousands of passengers a year.

Cllr Bernie Attridge, who represents Connah’s Quay Central ward, said business leaders had expressed concerns over the plans.

He said: “The Deeside service is used by a lot of people. This is a retrograde step when we are encouraging people to use public transport.

“This is a vital service for those trying to get to work. There is not a commercial service that goes to the industrial park. It is in the public interest that this is looked at again. We hope we can convince them to reverse the decision.”

Council bosses said the Deeside service costs it £14 per person, per journey, compared to £3 for other users and changes were being introduced to provide greater value for money.

A petition has also been launched to save the shuttle bus to the theatre.

Debra Roberts of JD Autos has been running the Flintshire-wide service along with her husband Jon, for eight years.

She said: “We take more than 2,500 people a year. The support for the petition has been really good. We carry so many elderly and infirm people.

“On Monday nights we take disabled children to drama classes. I know without us 90 per cent of them could not get there.

“Everybody who goes to the theatre spends money on tickets or food or gifts from the shop. It is all revenue coming back in.

“At £2.50 a trip it was never going to make any money.”

Mrs Roberts said she has been inundated with requests from new customers since it emerged the service was to be stopped and had been given help by Llanfynydd councillor Hilary Isherwood who called in the decision over the theatre shuttle.

“I have had calls from people who did not know we offered the service, she said. “Now my phone has been ringing and ringing and ringing.”

See full story in the Leader

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