Anger over plans to axe community buses

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RESIDENTS in Sheffield have complained about plans to axe their community transport service – which provides elderly and vulnerable people with a lift to the shops.

The Star reported this week how residents from Gleadless Valley are upset Sheffield Council is withdrawing funding for the ‘lifeline’ community bus service at the end of March.

In a letter to customers, Simon Ebbins, council transport operations manager, said: “Due to budget constraints, we have had to review the link buses currently provided to communities.

“These services are subsidised by the council and unfortunately this can no longer be sustained.

“Discussions are currently being held with partner organisations and other bodies to investigate the possibility of securing alternative funding to continue to provide these services. However, if this is not possible, and no alternative funding is identified, these services will be withdrawn at the start of April.”

The outcome of the negotiations is expected at the end of February.

Residents in the Gleadless Valley have called on the council to rethink the plans.

And a 66-year-old resident from Matthew’s Fold, Norton, Sheffield, said: “This will destroy people’s independence and it is hitting vulnerable people.

“At the moment I have a friend who takes me shopping to Morrisons, Meadowhead.

“However, he is elderly too and if I didn’t have him or the bus I wouldn’t be able to do my shopping.”

The council has said it must make £20.3 million worth of savings in the coming year and would not be reconsidering the decision.