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Staffordshire MPs join fight to save Sunday bus services

By Tom Oakley | Cannock | News | Published:

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition to save Sunday bus services – as MPs slammed the plans to axe them.

Arriva bus services cancelled in Stafford and Cannock

Both Amanda Milling MP and Defence Secretary Gavin Willamson are urging Arriva to backtrack on the proposals to axe the services.

The MP for Cannock Chase has called for a meeting with Arriva, saying the cuts will ‘leave people stranded.’ the bus provider to express her dismay and to discuss the possibility of restoring services. She has written to the firm stating her concern for residents who are reliant on public transport.

A petition launched on change.org, demanding the council reverse the funding decision, to cut fundingSo far, has now been signed by 1,100 people.

Services in both Cannock and Stafford on Sundays from Cannock’s Delta Way depot are due to be axed from April 1. It comes after Staffordshire County Council withdrew funding – but the authority says stopping most of the Sunday bus journeys was a ‘commercial decision’ made by Arriva.

Impact

Ms Milling said: “I will fight against this on behalf of our bus users. I think it’s going to have a huge impact on the area – there will be no bus services running from the Cannock depot. I really am concerned

“Some people are wholly reliant on using the bus and on Sundays there’s not going to be any services. It is pretty staggering.

“I’m constantly getting concerns from the public and a lot of people are elderly who can’t get to the shops or the doctors.

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“I have written to Arriva and called for a meeting to discuss these changes. There are many people who rely on buses to get out and about and there is a real danger that they will be left stranded as a result of this decision.”

Lifeline

Mr Williamson, MP for South Staffordshire, added: “Bus services are vital to people of all ages who don’t drive in getting across a county like Staffordshire. I’m extremely concerned about these cuts, which would remove a lifeline for so many people.

“This would stop people getting to their jobs and would be deeply damaging for the elderly who may rely on the buses to get them to the shops or to and from church on a Sunday.It is important we do all we can to fight these cuts and I hope Arriva reconsider their decision.”

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Among the Sunday services which will be withdrawn include the 70A Cannock to Wolverhampton, 62S Cannock to Lichfield and 74, 75, 75A and 76A from Stafford to Wolverhampton.

Sunday buses will be no more on the number 8 route from Moss Pit to Parkside, the 9 Stafford to Highfields, the 12 Stafford to Doxey, the 26 Cannock to Pye Green and the 60 Cannock to Lichfield.

As well as this, the 2E from Cannock to Walsall will no longer run during evening and on Sundays.

Focus

Staffordshire County Councillor Mark Deaville said: “The vast majority of bus journeys in Staffordshire are run on a commercial basis by operators, including those from the Arriva depot in Cannock.

“After gathering public feedback, it was agreed that we would focus the resources we do have on subsidising bus travel on weekdays to connect people to employment, education and health services.”

"More than 96 percent of bus journeys can still be made.

“Our changes affect only four subsidised Sunday services from the Cannock depot and the decision to stop all of its other Sunday bus journeys is a commercial decision for Arriva and not the county council.”

Cannock Chase MP Ms Milling has previously campaigned to save bus services in the county before and will once again raise these issues with Arriva at the upcoming meeting.

A petition was launched on change.org, demanding the council reverse the funding decision to cut funding. So far, It has now been signed by 1,000 people.

Tom Oakley

By Tom Oakley
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist

Express & Star reporter responsible for covering Walsall and Staffordshire. Got a story? Email tom.oakley@expressandstar.co.uk or call 01902 319482.

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