A WOMAN who heavily relies on public transport has set up a petition, demanding a better bus operator in Redditch.

Steph Pickerill has mobility issues so does not drive and uses buses as her main form of transport.

She uses the 11/12 service to get to her job at Boots in the town centre and said if the routes are axed, she would have no way of getting to work.

Steph, aged 41, said: “I have three conditions that affect my mobility so a three-mile walk to town and back will cripple me.

“My doctor’s surgery is also in the town centre.

“I am despairing about how to get to work, especially in the winter months.

“If the buses were axed, I would have to get a taxi to work, and my daughter would have to get one to college and back which would cost more than £20 per day.

“Every single bus service at risk of being axed goes to The Alexandra Hospital and it will leave a good proportion of Redditch left without a bus service.

“We just want a good functional bus service to get into town, to the doctors and get to work.”

However, Cllr Mike Rouse, cabinet member for highways and transport, said the council does not hold the power to fire and hire bus operators.

“There is nothing stopping bus operators coming in - they can come into the county, set up a route, set up a service and get on and run it," said Cllr Rouse.


Responding to comments about whether we can fire bus operators.

♬ original sound - mikerouseuk

“That also means there is nothing stopping bus operators from leaving either if they wish to do so or if they think it’s no longer commercially viable for them.

“It’s not simply a case of firing or hiring when it comes to operators – we just don’t have those powers.

“Even if we did, taking that approach would be extremely dangerous”

Cllr Rouse added that he has heard some heart-breaking stories and he wants to make sure residents have a service that’s good enough for everyone to use.

Diamond Bus said they do not want to cut services and are in discussion with the council and MPs to improve the position.

A spokesperson for Diamond Bus said: “For a long time, we have operated services which are unviable, and we have not taken this decision lightly.”

In response, Worcestershire County Council is setting up a task force to review current bus provisions and to ensure bus travel can meet residents’ needs across the county.

This group will be comprised of the county council, bus operators, passenger groups, and the individual constituency Members of Parliament for Worcestershire.

Cllr Rouse said: “We know how important bus travel is to residents across Worcestershire, especially those who rely on their local services on a regular basis to make appointments, get to and from work or even see their family.

“I have set out our mission to review, enhance and secure our network now and into the future, and I hope this approach provides the residents of Worcestershire with reassurance that we are committed to making the necessary changes to provide longer-term viability where we can.”

To sign Steph’s petition, click here: https://bit.ly/3y6ePHt.