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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Campaigners' concern over rural bus services

* Mabon ap Gwynfor with Jane Ballinger.

A hospital worker says council cuts to bus services have put her job at risk.
Now campaigners and Plaid Cymru are calling for Wrexham Council to reinstate the bus services in rural areas.
Jane Ballinger, of Glyn Ceiriog, works at the orthopaedic hospital and used to catch the Number 60 bus service.
This was cut in April and, as she cannot drive due to being partially sighted, she faced losing her livelihood.
Fortunately she has been able to get a lift from friends because the reduced bus service will not get her there and back in time for work.
Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Clwyd South, warned that losing the number 60 bus service could threaten the livelihoods of many people in the same situation as Jane.
He said: "The number 60 bus was a lifeline to Jane and others like her. For the sake of saving a few thousand pounds peoples lives are being impacted upon, with some having to consider leaving their communities in order to keep their jobs.
"Providing public transport that is accessible for all is a key public service which both the Government and Council should ensure is available. By cutting these service not only are they denying people their independence, but it will have a damaging impact on the local economy and will contribute to the slow death of our villages."

Jane Ballinger said:  “I have used the bus number 60 for many years now.  I currently work at the Oswestry Orthopaedic hospital and have done for over five years.  I am partially sighted so will never be able to drive.    

“I used to catch the 60 in Glyn Ceiriog at 07:50 to take me via Chirk, via Gobowen and stopping at the Orthopaedic before going on to Osewstry.  In the evenings I stay a little late in work catching the No 60 home at 17:46 at the hospital, back through Gobowen, Chirk and back to Glyn Ceiriog.

“The Number 60 was discontinued and these are the alternatives.  I currently start work at 8:20/08:25 when I arrive and usually finish at 17:00 but I stay a little later to catch the bus so work til 17:30.

"So basically, I cannot get home. Even if I left my office at 5 o'clock I couldn't get to the bus stop by two minutes passed: without cutting my hours at work I cannot use public transport and contin ue to work as I do. 

"I could potentially lose my job and my home because of this.  Subsidised bus services surely were for exactly this purpose so people in rural areas had 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 news.  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.    

"The No 60 only did these two journeys to Oswestry 6 days a week, surely stopping this can't be saving a huge amount.  I am willing to see the posts of Mayor and Mayoress cut....  they don't get me to work and I am sure this would generate a large saving for the council.

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

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