Hundreds sign petition to save Stagecoach bus route set to be axed in Gloucestershire

Stagecoach West announced that it will be axing more than a dozen routes across the county.

More than 600 people have signed a petition to save a Gloucestershire bus route which is set to be axed later this month.

Stagecoach West announced in October that it will be pulling more than a dozen routes across the county.

The move will see 300,000 bus journeys a year be cancelled, preventing people from accessing work, school, hospital appointments and leisure activities.

The E bus which connects Woodmancote with Cheltenham is among the routes being withdrawn on November 27.

In response to this, residents have set up a petition which calls on the bus firm to go back to the drawing board and reconsider their decision.

Nigel Adcock, who set up the petition, says he has seen first hand what happens to communities when bus services are withdrawn.

He said: “A village in West Wales where family reside was turned from a vibrant community to a ghost village that was totally car dependent when a local bus service was withdrawn.

“Woodmancote has a high carbon footprint when compared to other local government areas. Fifty Eight percent of which is generated by transport. A good, dependable, regular bus service would go some way towards mitigating this.”

Woodmancote resident Cheryl Agg said public services are vital for people across the borough, including older people, young people in education, shift workers in vital industries and those who cannot drive.

She said: “The loss of our only bus service will cause major disruption and inconvenience for Woodmancote residents.”

Vivien Paxford, who approached Mr Adcock to set up the petition, said she was appalled by the bus service withdrawal.

Liberal Democrat county councillor Alex Hegenbarth said Gloucestershire County Council should have done more to protect the route.

She said: “For many residents local transport is a lifeline to get to work, to go to the shops and to see people. The withdrawal of such a service risks severing links to the world for those who depend on public transport.

“The county council administration should have done more to ensure this and other routes remained. By allowing these routes to be slashed they have impeded social mobility”.

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire County Council said the decision to cut these routes was Stagecoach’s alone to make as a commercial business.

The statement reads: “Since we were first told about the Stagecoach cuts, we have worked tirelessly to get this decision reversed.

“Unfortunately, our efforts to convince Stagecoach senior leaders to explore a different solution, one that did not leave communities isolated and cut off from vital services, education, and employment, were unsuccessful.

“We have acted without hesitation to try to get these routes picked up by other operators where possible and will be updating residents on this in the coming weeks."

A Stagecoach spokesperson said: "The communities they serve are extremely important to us, and we know how critical bus services are to people in our region.

"Unfortunately, Service E has become financially unsustainable due to low passenger numbers.

“We have worked hard to ensure that the majority of customers will retain a bus service through changes to Service D, which will now serve a wider area of Bishop’s Cleeve.

"This will include serving the stop which was previously used by customers to travel from Woodmancote before Service E was introduced in 2018.”

Credit: Local Democracy Reporter Service/Carmelo Garcia