MP in call for revamp of bus services

Residents are in danger of being left isolated due to the lack of regular bus services in villages around Stafford, the town's MP has warned.

Stafford MP Theo Clarke is concerned about rural bus services
Stafford MP Theo Clarke is concerned about rural bus services

Theo Clarke said people in her constituency felt they were "let down" by infrequent bus services, which she said had led to loneliness and residents missing out on important events.

The Conservative MP has called for the launch of a "dial-a-ride" service, where people can arrange for transport from local community hubs.

Speaking during a Westminster Hall Debate on public transport in North Staffordshire, the MP told how she had recently visited Winchester Court, in Weeping Cross, Stafford, where she said she was "dismayed" to hear how residents feel let down by public transport.

She said elderly residents were forced to pay for taxis to get to church as there were no bus services, while a lack of regular services on busy routes such as Cannock Road was also a concern.

Ms Clarke said: "Lack of access to the local community is leaving people at risk of suffering further problems, such as loneliness, and I am pleased that this Government are working hard to tackle those problems.

"A regular and reliable bus service is very important for those of my constituents who live in villages, as those in rural locations rely on public transport to access important services, such as their GP."

She said some services, such as the 841 from Stafford to Hixon only run hourly, while the last bus back from Stafford to the village is at 5.55 pm, leaving residents who work in the town until 6pm unable to return home without the use of a car.

Other smaller villages, such as Seighford, do not even have a direct bus service into town, she added.

Ms Clarke has proposed a similar model to the Moorlands Connect service, which allows people to arrange for transport to and from rural areas via community hubs.

"That type of dial-a-ride service model is something that we should consider expanding across Staffordshire," she said.

She also warned that by forcing residents to make so many journeys by car, the environment was being damaged, hindering efforts to combat climate change.

"By re-evaluating the public transport offering in Stafford, we have the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives," Ms Clarke said.

"These are the sorts of changes we should be making as modern, compassionate Conservatives.

"Regular and reliable buses are essential services for commuters and local residents in my constituency, so I urge all parties on a local and national level to investigate and expand upon this north Staffordshire initiative, to ensure we provide bespoke and adaptable transport for all of Stafford’s residents."

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News