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25th Jun, 2022

No plans to leave Worcestershire say First Bus but no Government cash coming to county

Rob George 8th Apr, 2022

CONFUSED bus bosses at First Bus in Worcester have revealed there are ‘no plans whatsoever’ to axe its services despite claims on social media.

The company spoke out after a catalogue of rumours which claimed the company was either on the verge of cutting services or withdrawing from Worcestershire altogether.

A number of opposition Labour and Green Party councillors picked up on the tweets and questioned whether the company would continue with Green Party chief Coun Matthew Jenkins calling on County Hall to sort out the ‘broken’ model of transport in Worcestershire.

But First responded with a firm rebuttal and said had the company being seeking to withdraw operations it would have engaged with local stakeholders.

“We have no plans whatsoever of moving our bus operation out of Worcestershire, we constantly monitor demand on all services we operate and from time to time need to adjust services and frequencies accordingly to meet our customers travel patterns,” a spokesman said.  

The comments came in the same week Worcestershire failed in its bid for £84million from the Government’s Bus Back Better scheme.

Liberal Democrat County Councillors have called for a full investigation into the ‘string of failures’ to receive funding for transport initiatives by the council leadership.

Last year the Conservative Government announced a £3billion fund to level up buses across England, getting all areas to a London standard.

Worcestershire County Council Lib Dem leader Coun Mel Allcott said: “We need frequent, reliable services at a price people can afford if we want people to get out of their cars.

“The lack of subsidy is making bus services unaffordable from the start. Public transport is a public service, not a profit-making enterprise. This is not an isolated incident and we just see continual failures from this council. We need to see a different approach so that we can start to be successful and get our services back on track.”

Coun Dan Boatright, who represents Pershore, and several rural villages, said: “Not everyone has access to a car, and this leaves students, older people and commuters alike stuck with difficult journeys.

“There were numerous campaign groups who have a wealth of experience who could have added to these bids and ensured we were successful. Instead, they were ignored, and the ‘experts’ submitted bids that just keep failing.

“We have congestion in all our towns that is daft, dangerous, and getting more desperate by the day. Many of our existing buses are already infrequent, not at appropriate times and do not allow you to conveniently connect to onward transport.”

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