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Council's bus route u-turn - Service set to be restored after many complaints

February 19, 2009 12:00 AM
By Gareth McPherson - in Maidenhead Advertiser

THE under-fire transport boss at the Royal Borough has admitted the council 'cocked up' a revamp of its bus routes which left a community cut off.

Cllr Colin Rayner (Con, Horton and Wraysbury), cabinet member for highways, transport and the environment, made the admission this week. His move follows a

huge community backlash against route changes that have seen a close-knit community at the top of Cookham Road, which is heavily populated with pensioners,

cut off.

Householders said their only choice was to struggle to another remote stop or to stay at home.

About 230 signatures have been collected in petitions at the Spar in Cookham Road and Furze Platt Post Office.

The level of criticism has sparked a borough u-turn and it announced yesterday (Wednesday) that meetings will now be held with its operator Courtney Coaches to see if the Cookham Road route can be reinstated.

Cllr Rayner is also ready to take the criticism from furious bus users on the chin.

"We are going to meet people in the next few weeks and I will be there to take the full

wrath from the residents," he said.

"We are a council who, once we know there is a problem, deals with it and sorts it

to find the best solution for everybody."

The issue is already tabled for debate at the Royal Borough's council meeting on Tuesday.

Cllr Mary Stock (Lib Dem, Furze Platt) has been inundated with marooned bus passengers getting in touch.

"We want a bus service restored along Cookham Road," she said.

The No.6 bus route, which connects Maidenhead and Windsor, now cuts out Cookham Road completely, meaning passengers have to walk further to catch an alternative bus that takes them where they want to go.

The changes, which have also slashed services in Halifax Road, were brought in on

February 2 to improve connections to St Mark's Hospital, which now charges car parking fees.

Pensioner Connie Kuzio has been helping to spearhead the campaign.

"It's very hard for a lot of the older ladies here," said the Sandringham Road resident.

"We have to walk a long way to get the No.37 High Wycombe bus or we go nowhere."

■ NB the paper also had several letters on this issue.