Nottingham City Council is proposing to cut the frequency of two funded bus services running to Arnold and Mapperley which have been described as ‘a lifeline’ for those that use them.
The cuts and reductions to Locallink bus services are set to be approved at a full council meeting on Monday (March 4).
Nottingham Community Transport, Age UK, Bus Users UK and passengers themselves are urging Nottingham City Council to rethink proposed reductions to the L9 and L11 services. The L9 run from the city to Mapperley and also Arnold; the L11 runs from Beeston to Arnold.
People are being given until Monday to have their say on the cuts before a final decision is taken.
Mick Tinkler, chief executive of Age UK Nottingham & Nottinghamshire, said: “A lack access to transport can have a profound impact on the quality of life, health and wellbeing of those in later life.
“For those without access to a car, particularly those who are lonely or isolated, reliable public transport or community transport is essential for attending medical appointments, going to the shops and visiting friends, relatives and social groups. There seems little point in decimating local transport and then having to invest in services to deal with the aftermath.”
Mr Tinkler added: “We would implore the council to make every effort to continue to fund Locallink services and other such transport initiatives that enable Nottinghamshire’s older people to continue to access services and enjoy their later life.”
Campaigners have slammed the consultation by Nottingham City Council – which has centred on an email address. They feel many older, vulnerable and mobility-impaired people and those on low-incomes in Nottingham either do not have access to email and a computer, or are unable to use this method of communication.
Brian Wooding, acting chair of Nottingham Community Transport’s Board of Trustees, who run the service, said:“I’m sure the Council will maintain that it has undertaken the appropriate level of consultation to enable the budget cuts to go through, however, I wait to be advised by the City Council if any attempt has been made to advertise service changes on the Linkbuses themselves or to raise awareness of the issues with the users of the services to enable meaningful consultation to take place.
“I appreciate that timescales are tight, and the demands on the City’s finances are great but meaningful public engagement should be bywords for the Council on such important issues.”
Ian Combellack, general manager of Nottingham Community Transport, added: “We have been inundated with telephone calls and emails from concerned passengers about the proposed cuts to Locallink services and the fact that very little information has been released,
“As you can expect, it is also a very worrying time for our staff.
“The Council are saying that, where Linkbus services are proposed to be withdrawn, alternative services are available, however for most passengers this will require a change of buses which will be an added inconvenience.”
Mr Combellack added: “It is very concerning for some passengers who have told us that they will become prisoners in their own homes as they will be unable to afford expensive taxis, if the services are withdrawn. We’re back to the old scenario where a free bus pass scheme has been introduced, but there will be fewer services available for passengers to use.”
You can have your say on the proposed cuts and reduction by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org