Bus service axe leaves residents of Hamil Road in Burslem cut off
RESIDENTS have been left stranded after the last-remaining regular bus service on their road was scrapped.
The number 76 Saturday service running along Hamil Road, in Burslem, has ended after being axed by bus operator Wardle.
It comes a year after the weekday number 77 service run by D&G Bus along Hamil Road was stopped.
Operators today warned it is unlikely that the services will be reinstated.
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But passengers are objecting to the decision which leaves them having to walk to Burslem and without a direct bus link to supermarkets in Tunstall.
Marilyn Edge, aged 66, who volunteers at Burslem Bible Centre, in Hamil Road, said: "There are a large number of elderly people on the estate, some with disabilities or illnesses which make it hard for them to walk from Burslem.
"The estate is on a hill, it's not so much the getting to the town centre as the climb back up.
"It's fine for those people who have a car or can get a lift from someone, but a lot of people also relied on the service to get to Tunstall.
"Some people get a taxi back from the town, but it costs £4, which is significantly more than a return bus ticket."
Frank Sherrett, aged 91, of High Lane, Burslem, said: "I can't believe it, it wasn't quiet enough to cancel the service, it always seemed busy to me."
Housewife Bibby Susan, of Hamil Road, said: "The bus service was really useful to us.
"Now, when I go shopping, I have to carry heavy bags up the hill on my own.
"I would love it if they brought the service back because it made life so much easier."
The number 76 circular service – which looped around Burslem, Tunstall, Mill Hill and Chell Heath – was started by D&G Bus in May, 2011 and then taken over by Wardle.
Passengers have regularly called for a service in Hamil Road at city council surgeries.
Ward councillor Joy Garner said: "A lot of people did rely on the service, but not enough to fill the buses for every run throughout the day.
"I have tried to persuade bus operators to divert their buses via Hamil Road to pick people up there, but no-one was willing."
Bus operators today stressed that there is little money to subsidise routes.
Wardle spokesman Keith Myatt said: "It was no longer commercially viable for us to run the service.
"There were just not enough people getting the bus."
The number 77 weekday service was scaled back in September, 2011 to run between Congleton and Tunstall.
D&G Bus network manager Tim Jeffcoat, below left, said: "I would love to run a bus service for everyone if I could, but unfortunately, there is just no money for it at the moment.
"We were originally offered a subsidy to run the number 77 weekday service through Hamil Road, but that funding was withdrawn by the city council in September, 2011.
"Now the Department of Transport has cut the Bus Service Operators' Grant, which is the money we get back for fuel, as well as the amount of money we are given for people using bus passes.
"It has become a hard job to keep bus operators afloat."