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'Utterly derisive' figures - Angry pensioners left high and dry meet councillor at special bus surgery

March 19, 2009 12:00 AM
By Gareth McPherson - garethm@baylismedia.co.uk in Maidenhead Advertiser

STRANDED pensioners who had their local bus stops axed from a popular route into Maidenhead town centre confronted the Royal Borough this week.

The council set up a mobile surgery in Cookham Road on Monday where hundreds of residents are

believed to have been marooned by the new number 6 bus route.

The bus changes, which prompted a public backlash, were made partly on the basis of passenger figures, which showed that just 137 people got on the bus on northern stops in Cookham Road in

three months. Furious Alex Goodlet, of Switchback Road South, described the figures, collated by bus

operator Courtney Coaches, as 'utterly derisive'.

"The figures were so wildly wrong that it would have been more accurate to say that Reading was half a mile from Maidenhead," he said after the meeting.

"The chasm between the borough council and reality was frighteningly enormous."

The 71-year-old added: "There is very little for the community in North Town and that bus was like a little

community centre."

Nearly 200 people filled out questionnaires on bus issues during the surgery, which was held during

the day in a council mobile library. Cllr Colin Rayner (Con, Horton and Wraysbury), transport cabinet member, who agrees that the passengers figures were flawed, said he had 'a marvellous day' talking

to residents.

He said that he now wants to balance the needs of the Cookham Road residents with other people on bus routes. "Some of them were angry and so they should be," he said.

"But now we will get it right. I just hope that the residents did accept my apology."