On 12 August I attended a meeting between local residents and various official representatives from Swindon Borough Council and Thamesdown Transport.
In October 2013 bus route 26 was taken out of service leaving many of the elderly and disabled members of the Rodbourne community without feasible access to local transport. This is not just the odd one or two people but a large percentage of the local community. It has left vulnerable people unable to get to town and more importantly finding it exceedingly difficult to access the medical services they need.
During late 2014 and 2015 the roadworks at Bruce Street Bridges have made the main bus routes 13 and 14 haphazard and unreliable. Whilst Thamesdown Transport has understandably diverted the buses via Paddington Drive it has also meant passengers living in Rodbourne have been left with even further distances to walk – not an easy or even possible task when a person is mobility impaired.
The excuse that the bus companies do not make a profit to sustain route 26 is a valid one until the question of where do the funds and grants given by the use of concessionary bus passes go if not to support bus routes where they are essential for those card holders. The whole point of a concessionary bus pass is to provide essential services of transport to the more vulnerable members of the community.
If Thamesdown Transport are unable to provide that service then why are the council not looking into using the concession grants to fund a service to do what is needed. It is not unreasonable to consider such transport services as part of social care when the more vulnerable members of our community are being isolated by lack of transport. Isolation that results in added mental and physical health issues which in turn put greater demand and expense on care services.