Words and photos by Dave Barry
Fears over cuts to bus services in and around Scarborough are growing.
Buses to Woodlands crematorium, Burniston, Cloughton and Hutton Buscel have been axed and other routes reduced.
A statement on the county council website says full details of the changes won’t be available from bus operators until 6 April, 10 days before they take effect.
However, the news has leaked out via bus drivers.
East Yorkshire Motor Services bus services with the numbers 2, 3, 3A, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14 and 15 will cease.
The company says the routes they cover will be served by new routes with the numbers 8, 8A, 9, 9A, 10 and 11; and that one discontinued route, to and from Cloughton, is serviced by another firm, Arriva.
“We are very concerned as many of our members are in their 80s and 90s and can’t drive any more”, says Audrey Cooke, who chairs Scarborough & District Older Peoples Forum.
At a forum meeting, “members shared their deep concerns about all the cuts on bus routes in Scarborough coming in to force in April”, says vice-chair Pauline Mewis. “More buses are needed, not fewer”.
Forum members find the prospect of a diminished bus service depressing and cherish their free bus passes.
Most of the 90-100 members who attend monthly meetings at Westborough Methodist Church use their pass, introduced 10 years ago, to get there.
Mrs Mewis says: “18 April is the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the old people’s bus pass.
“The pass has helped so many older people to combat loneliness and isolation. Travel costs are so expensive now that, if pensioners had to pay for travel, their outdoor accessibility would be greatly reduced, so limiting time with family, friends, shopping, church and group activities.
A recent survey among members showed how valuable the passes are. They offer “freedom to get out of my four walls” and “to enjoy socialising” - “I would be a prisoner in my own home without it”.
The pass is a “a godsend” and a “vital, money-saving lifeline” which “allows everyday travel instead of two or three times a week”. “It’s a piece of gold which lets me enjoy days out”.