Fury as fourth bus route cut: Hanley to Blurton evening service to go
BUS passengers fear they will be left out in the cold after an operator revealed it is to scrap a fourth evening service.
First Bus has announced it will cut all buses on the 23 and 23A service after 7.30pm.
The route, which currently runs every half-hour from Hanley to Blurton at night, will be restricted from Sunday.
But residents say the changes will cut them off from the rest of the city.
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Derek Ecclestone, aged 73, of Garside Avenue, Blurton, said: "It is disgraceful and it is the worst time of year to do it.
"It will leave workers stranded because they have no other way of getting home at night.
"Fair enough if they say they can't afford to run it any more but why can't they start by reducing it to an hourly service?"
The Blurton route is the latest to be cut back after the company announced changes to the number one and two services through Bentilee and Longton.
The company has also scaled down the number five service to Abbey Hulton.
It said the cuts were due to a fall in passenger numbers.
First Bus was unavailable for comment but last month spokesman Ady Culpin, below, said: "The changes will affect services as they would be withdrawn after 7pm.
"It is solely down to low patronage as there are very few people using them late at night.
"As we operate commercially, it is not viable to keep a service going that is not being used."
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has held meetings with other bus companies to see if they could fill in but nothing has been announced.
Now residents want First Bus company to re-consider the changes as it will hit them hard.
A meeting was held at the Blurton Hub to consider starting a petition by residents to keep the services running.
Joan McNally, aged 66, from Louise Drive, Blurton, said: "I catch the bus fairly regularly and around Christmas I like to go to Hanley for the late-night shopping.
"People from Blurton and across the city rely on the late service. Not everyone has a nine-to-five job.
"It is very expensive to get a taxi, so what are people without cars supposed to do?"
Keith Greenaway, a cleaner, aged 43, from Blurton, said: "I share a car with my wife so sometimes she will pick me up if we plan ahead, but if I get held up and miss my bus it means I'm stuck.
"You always see people waiting for the buses in Blurton. There may be less in the evening but you still see them."