Bus pass sent back to Prime Minister

PUBLISHED: 14:46 08 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:43 11 May 2010

Vilma Oakes with Cllr Joe Holroyd

Vilma Oakes with Cllr Joe Holroyd

A PENSIONER has sent her free bus pass back to Prime Minister Gordon Brown after her local bus service was changed. Vilma Oakes, of Guilden Morden, was shocked to discover that as of last week, the No 90 and No 91 bus route from Hitchin no longer stops in

A PENSIONER has sent her free bus pass back to Prime Minister Gordon Brown after her local bus service was changed.

Vilma Oakes, of Guilden Morden, was shocked to discover that as of last week, the No 90 and No 91 bus route from Hitchin no longer stops in Guilden Morden or Steeple Morden. Instead it takes a route past Ashwell station before going on into Royston.

The change has come about after Centrebus took over the running of the route from another firm, Arriva.

Mrs Oakes, who is registered disabled and partially sighted, said: "I only found out about this when I came back from Hitchin one day and was told by one of the drivers.

"What is the point of having a bus pass if we don't have a bus in the village? I've sent two letters to Gordon Brown now but have yet to receive a response.

"Without this bus a lot of elderly and disabled people will lose their independence," she said.

Cllr Joe Holroyd, chairman of Guilden Morden Parish Council, said: "We're told there has been consultation, but neither we nor Steeple Morden Parish Council had heard anything about this until the last minute.

"To go through the Mordens takes no more than 10 minutes so I don't really understand what is being gained by changing the route.

"Our council tax has increased 5 per cent this year, yet we are getting a reduced level of service. It seems to me this is another decision taken by urbanites who have no knowledge of rural life," he said.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council said: "This change came about because the operator, Arriva, decided to run some routes on a commercial basis. We therefore revised the routes and service of the 90 and 91 buses to reflect demand for more services into Royston while working within our funding limitations.

"The Herts section of this route remains pretty much the same and it is the section that goes into Cambridge that has changed. We worked in consultation with Cambridgeshire County Council before this decision was made. Leaflets have been published and the new timetables will be displayed at bus stops.

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