Changes ‘will bring rural deprivation’

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BUCKINGHAM town councillors are worried cuts to the town’s bus services could leave older people stranded.

At the town council’s planning committee meeting last week, councillors heard about changes to the 32 and 32A bus services that are due to come into effect on April 23.

If the changes go ahead, the 32A will no longer exist as a connecting service between the various housing estates, the town centre, and the London Road Tesco store.

Western Avenue will be served by one bus each way on weekday mornings. Page Hill, Badgers and Bourtonville will have one bus to Tesco on Tuesday mornings and one at lunchtime.

The 32 will no longer be a circular route, but will return the way it came, via the hospital, shopping centre and rail/bus station. The last bus will leave Bletchley at 5.15pm, instead of the current 5.44pm.

However, a later bus service, from Monday to Friday, will be added, from Buckingham to the shopping centre only, leaving Buckingham at 6.13pm and returning from Milton Keynes at 6.45pm. There will still be no Sunday service.

Linden Village is to be served by an extension of the 32 service every two hours from 9am to 3pm, which will go via the bypass and Tesco to the bus station on odd-numbered hours.

Shoppers from Maids Moreton and Linden Village will now have to wait two hours at Tesco for a bus home, those from Western Avenue two and a half hours, and people on other estates hardly have a service at all.

Chairman of the planning committee, Warren Whyte, said: “It’s going to be a big issue for elderly residents who rely on buses to come into town and do their chores.”

Mayor Mike Smith said: “It’s introducing rural deprivation to a service that serves the rural community that depends on Buckingham.”

Councillors pointed out that the county council’s Transport Plan undertakes to maintain urban services, and aims to encourage car drivers to use the bus more.

The town council is contacting Transport for Bucks (TfB) to ask what money paid by the Moreton Road developer towards improving public transport is being used for.

A TfB spokesman said: “The new timetable has yet to be finalised as we are still taking comments from the various interest groups including parish and town councils.”

> Aylesbury Vale Transport Users Group is holding a meeting for residents who have any kind of transport issue (not just bus services) on Tuesday, April 3, from 2pm to 4pm at Buckingham Community Centre.