Pensioner hails call to keep bus service going
THE decision to scrap the Service 64 Alloa Town bus has been reversed.
Earlier this month bus operator W.A.V.E announced it would be withdrawing the service from Friday 3 August.
However Clackmannanshire Council has decided to subsidise the service which will continue running Monday to Friday during the day.
Alloa bus user Margaret Harrison uses the service 64 three to four times a week, to do her shopping and visit her brother.
The 68-year-old, who has a prosthetic leg, said she was relieved a solution had been found as she relies on the bus to get about and couldn't afford the price of a taxi.
She said, "Seemingly it's going to run to the same times as before so at least we have got a bus. If they had taken the bus off I don't know what I would have done. I would have been snookered. I have only got one leg and I would have had to walk.
"They were basically taking my independence away, but I'm pleased to see that they are keeping the bus on."
The service has an average of 730 passengers a week and is used by many elderly residents.
To save the 64 the council will be withdrawing subsidy from the least used service - the late evening C69 Alva-Alloa-Dollar service which has an average of nine passengers per week.
Council Leader Gary Womersley said, "We were very concerned that W.A.V.E considered it necessary to withdraw Service 64 and I am delighted that we have been able to step in."
Chief executive of W.A.V.E, Duncan Hearsum, said he was disappointed the company had been forced to withdraw from providing the service.
He said, "The loss making 64 town service was withdrawn by the original operator in 2009 and W.A.V.E. stepped in and operated it temporarily with a subsidy on behalf of Clackmannanshire Council.
"W.A.V.E. has worked with Clackmannanshire Council at various times throughout the last three years to see if there were any opportunities to make the C64 service more sustainable.
"W.A.V.E. considered a number of options for delivering the service in alternative ways to increase patronage and improve the service following two major changes in government policy earlier this year."
He said the policies resulted in reductions in fuel subsidy and capping of the concessionary fares re-imbursement given to operators, which has seen wide scale withdrawals of services throughout Scotland.
Further legislation that places restrictions on operators who wish to amend services meant the company was faced with the risk of committing to changes that could have increased lossess.
The C69 will be amended as follows, Mondays - Saturdays:
19:56 Dollar - Alva, will terminate in Shillinghill, Alloa at 20:24
20:57 Alva - Dollar withdrawn
21:56 Dollar - Alloa withdrawn.
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 27 Jun 12
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