Gobowen hospital worker fears for her job after bus cuts


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

A HOSPITAL administration worker says local authority cuts to bus services have put her job at risk.

Now campaigners are calling on Wrexham Council to reinstate services in rural areas.

Jane Ballinger, of Glyn Ceiriog, works at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital near Gobowen and used to catch the Number 60 bus service to and from work.

However the service was cut in April amid half-a-million pound council budget cuts and as Ms Ballinger cannot drive because she is partially sighted, she faced losing her livelihood.

The reduced service now operating the route does not get her there and back in time for work. Luckily, for the moment, Ms Ballinger has been able to get a lift from friends, but said she fears for the future. She said: “I could potentially lose my job and my home because of this.

“Subsidised bus services surely were for exactly this purpose, giving people in rural areas as much chance as anyone else of being able to get to work to pay their taxes and contribute to the economy. I am heartbroken by this situation. I am lucky to have friends who will help ferry me back and to.

“However, it shouldn’t be like this, I should have the opportunity to get to work myself.

I would be very sorry to leave the orthopaedic hospital, I love my job and have a fantastic set of colleagues. Also, I cannot just leave the job as bills still have to be paid."”

Wrexham Council implemented cutbacks of £495,000 to bus services in the region as part of more than £13 million of savings earmarked for this financial year.

The cuts, which mostly came into force in May, saw certain villages and communities facing reduced early morning and evening service. In some cases the changes meant a complete withdrawal of Sunday bus services.

Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru spokesman for Clwyd South, said losing the bus service could threaten the livelihoods of many people in the same situation.

He said: "The number 60 was a lifeline to Jane and others like her.

“People’s lives are being impacted upon with some having to consider leaving their communities in order to keep their jobs.

“By cutting these services not only are they denying people their independence, but it will have a damaging impact on the local economy and contribute to the slow death of our villages."

Wrexham Council said it wished to make no comment.

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