Bus Route Removal ‘Betrayal of Most Vulnerable’

A local activist and a Plymouth Labour Councillor have delivered hundreds of letters to residents in a bid to get the Conservative Council to reverse their decision to remove the council-funded 31 bus route.

Cllr Charlotte Holloway, Labour Councillor for Drake ward, said she was “deeply concerned” at the move which comes into force at the end of December.

“Like many residents in the area, I am deeply concerned at the Conservative Council’s decision to axe the local 31 bus route,” said Cllr Holloway.

“The Conservatives are taking away a lifeline for the poorest and most vulnerable in our area to make local people pay for the dire state of local government finances under the Conservatives. I don’t think that’s right at all, and we have to fight for local people here.

“That’s why we are delivering hundreds of letters to residents to tell them to let us know the level of impact that the removal of this route will make to their quality of life.”

The axing of the route – a service run by Stagecoach but subsidised by Plymouth City Council – was revealed in a meeting of the cabinet last month where Conservative councillors discussed proposals to reduce costs by £26.2 million.

Plymouth campaigner Paul McNamara, who is Labour’s Candidate for Drake ward in next year’s local elections, has been hearing from residents first hand about the way the changes will affect people.

“I have been knocking on doors across the ward and hearing how many local residents, particularly elderly people, those without transport and those with mobility needs rely on this route,” said Paul.

“We will be pushing the council to think again.” 

Cllr Holloway added: “I spoke to a local resident last week who said “I just don’t know what I’ll do, I don’t know how I’ll be able to go anywhere when it’s gone”. It’s heart-breaking and it’s clear these cuts will be life-changing for some people.

“You can’t help but feel that the Conservative Council’s mismanagement of the local finances is being paid for on the backs of the most vulnerable.”