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'Elderly being harmed by bus route changes'

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

UNHAPPY TRAVELLERS: Ray Cox, 84, and his wife Diane, of School Hill, Mevagissey, pictured boarding the bus to St Austell, say changes to services are causing hardship to the elderly.

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A MEVAGISSEY couple have slammed Western Greyhound for what they see as a disregard for the elderly after changes to the local bus service.

Many of the bus company's Cornish services changed from November 3 as a result of a reduction in council subsidy.

And Ray and Diane Cox, who live at the top of School Hill in Mevagissey, said the route changes on the 524/5/6 services have had a major impact on their lives and others living in the area.

Western Greyhound announced that due to high passenger demand it would no longer run services via School Hill, enabling larger vehicles to be used, but Mr Cox, 84, said the larger buses are yet to be introduced.

"Western Greyhound thinks everything in their garden is rosy and it's not," he said. "The reason they've given for the buses no longer coming down School Hill is because of the need for larger buses – but a month later the smaller buses are still being used."

The service now only travels down Valley Road into the centre of the village and Mr Cox said he and other elderly people in the area struggle to walk up the hill in all weathers with heavy shopping bags.

Recently Mr Cox and his wife Diane asked their bus driver to stop for them on a flat section near their home so they wouldn't have to negotiate the steep hill, but the driver said he was unable to do so.

"We asked if we could get off at the crossroads so we didn't have to walk up School Hill but the driver wouldn't stop and open the doors, they just don't care," he said.

"This time of year the smaller buses are sufficient, because there are no holidaymakers."

Western Greyhound managing director Mark Haworth said the company was still waiting for the larger buses to be rolled out.

He said: "It is intended to introduce larger, 33-seater single-deck buses onto the Mevagissey – Fowey route due to heavy loadings to avoid leaving passengers behind. These buses are too long to use School Hill and turn near the Ship Inn.

"As part of the Cornwall Council cuts on which we were given notice on the Gorran end of the route, we introduced these changes simultaneously on November 3 so we are ready for the larger vehicles as they are rolled out.

"In the meantime a replacement service operated by Gorran Community bus will serve the route for the small number of passengers affected."

so there is no issue."

Mr Cox said the community bus only runs on some days.

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