Bus cuts - socially unfair

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THE WEST Sussex bus cuts undermine the pensioners’ concessionary fare scheme despite David Cameron’s election pledge not to do so.

This Tory-led Government is axing more than half a billion pounds of support for local bus services across the country.

Pensioners in West Sussex are already witnessing the end of council-funded rural, evening and weekend buses. By cutting local transport too far and too fast the council is removing the only means many older residents have of getting around their local communities, accessing essential services and ensuring they do not become isolated.

The Tories pledged to protect their free bus travel - they did not tell pensioners that they would take away their buses instead!

A wide range of organisations, including Age UK and the National Pensioners’ Convention, have written to David Cameron about how the cuts to bus services will hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest - contrary to the message that cuts will be ‘socially fair’.

Older and disabled people have benefited from free bus travel, enabling mobility which has generated associated economic activity. However, bus cuts mean that concessionary pass holders will end up with no buses to get on!

Moreover, the recent West Sussex County Council decision to reduce bus use by ten per cent is perverse, when only 18 months ago, the proportion of rural households within a 13 minute walk of an hourly bus service was at an all time high of 58 per cent.

With the economy now flat-lining, these decisions are undermining the the activities of the very sector who can help pull the stagnant economy into recovery.

J. BATTERSBY

Amberley Road, Horsham