Bus changes planned for next week threaten to leave pensioners in Oxton village without access to a local bus service.
Avon Buses are withdrawing the 90 and combining it with the 91, but crucially, the new route will no longer go through the village centre.
Liberal Democrat campaigner, Allan Brame, says this is devastating news for less mobile residents of Oxton, who will find the steep village hills impossible to manage.
“As soon as Merseytravel alerted us to the planned change last month, we organised a survey and petition in the village centre about bus usage and received 147 replies. Several residents described the bus as their lifeline and said they don’t know how they will manage without a local service.”
The nearest bus routes will now be along Balls Road at the bottom of the village, or Storeton Road at the top. “Both roads are difficult for pedestrians to cross because of speeding traffic and blind bends and I am really worried about the increased risk to vulnerable older residents,” Allan Brame said.
Avon operate this service as a commercial route. Merseytravel’s funding for supported routes has been cut by the government, but they aim to ensure everyone is within 400 metres of a bus route.
“That may technically be true, as the crow flies, but it takes no account of steep gradients and dangerous crossings,” Allan Brame commented.
“There has been a bus route of one sort or another through Oxton village since the 1970s, when Liberal councillors had a long-running campaign for a bus service to be provided. This decision is setting us back over 40 years.
“I am sure local residents will not give up and I will support them in trying to persuade Avon, or another bus company, to re-consider this decision,” Allan Brame said.