CHANGES to a rural bus service have left residents frustrated as they struggle to make the rural commute into Burton.
Staffordshire County Council asked for the timetable of the 402 and 403 services, which are operated by Midland Classic, to be altered due to low passenger numbers. It has defended the changes, which came into effect on April 28, after they came under criticism from people living in rural parts of East Staffordshire that use the service on a daily basis.
Mail reader Mrs Morris, who lives in Beamhill Road, Anslow, says that the changes have left her children unable to get to Burton and South Derbyshire College on a morning. She said: “The changes mean that they can’t get there on time for classes starting. It also means that people who need to be in work for nine o’clock are also unable to make it in time. It’s also difficult to get home on an evening as well. They haven’t thought it through.”
However, the county council has defended its decision to make changes to the service, citing that continued low passenger levels from places such as Hanbury and Anslow are the reason for running a reduced timetable. It also added that those living on the route will not be left completely isolated as a replacement response service has been set up to take people into Burton when the 402 and 403 are not in operation. It will run between 8am and 6pm from Monday to Saturday.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet support member for transport and the connected county Simon Tagg said: “For those needing earlier journey times in Anslow, we are now providing demand-responsive service, Needwood Forest Connect, which can be booked to provide journeys to connecting bus routes that would then take them to college.
“We already have a few people booked on the service who make this journey. Needwood Forest Connect also provides a transport option for many residents who previously had no available public transport alternative.”
Bookings for the Needwood Forest Connect service can be made by calling 01283 512705 or 01283 544320.