Councillor secures return of evening bus

By Tim Clarke 12/06 Updated: 12/06 13:18

Buy photos » Coun Richard Udall has helped secure the return of an evening bus service for St John's and Dines Green. Picture by Neville Collins 1212039ncr

A ST JOHN'S councillor has helped secure the trial of a new evening bus service for hospital workers and students left stranded by county council cutbacks.

Coun Richard Udall said he had been inundated with complaints since the council axed weekday evening services to St John's and Dines Green last September, as part of a wider effort to cut £2.5million from its budget for subsidised bus routes.

So Coun Udall has dipped into his £10,000 divisional fund, which is allocated to all 57 county councillors, to help cover the cost of a three month trial of a new 31E service.

It will run from Worcestershire Royal Hospital at 10.15pm from Monday to Thursday and will call at the city centre, St John's, Dines Green and the University of Worcester.

Friday and Saturday evening buses are already subsidised by the county council.

If enough passengers use the service the trial could be extended into the autumn and beyond.

Mr Udall, who represents St John's on both the city and county council, said he hoped the service would help shift workers at the hospital as well as students get home safely.

He said: "Hospital workers and those working evenings in the city centre lost their safe route home to St John’s and Dines Green and students also felt stranded.

“This service will prove a lifeline to many residents. Teenagers and young people in St John’s and Dines Green could also not safely go into the city centre at night without a late bus home. This will once again connect St John’s and Dines Green with evening public transport from the city centre. It was a crime to have removed it in the first place."

Coun Udall said he was confident enough people would use the evening bus to justify its continuation after the trial.

“It has been very difficult and a long campaign to see its re-introduction. I know from what people have told me that they want this service and that they will use it," Coun Udall added. The new 31E service began this week.

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