ELDERLY campaigners have condemned Borough of Poole’s decision to cut funding on six of its subsidised bus routes.
Services will be reduced from May 25, in a bid to claw back £100,000 a year from the borough’s £800,000 bus subsidy budget.
However, chairman of Age Concern Poole, Dennis Blackler, says the cuts will effectively leave many isolated pensioners who depend on the services high and dry.
He told the Daily Echo: “I’m very unhappy about these cuts. We have got some very isolated people who come along to our pop-in sessions. In Poole we have eight afternoon pop-ins – we’re talking about 200 people a week.
“A lot of them rely on the buses. If their buses are not going to be there anymore, it means they won’t be able to meet one another.
“Many of these people only meet once a week – then they’re at home alone and don’t see anybody.
“The buses are very, very important for the elderly. Far more important to them than cars.”
Meanwhile, Age UK Bournemouth’s chief officer David Leighton also said the cuts would make it worse for isolated residents.
Age Concern experts are worried some of the county’s most vulnerable residents, who depend on the routes to shop, visit friends, family and local health services, could be left effectively “stranded.”
Defending the decision, Borough of Poole’s transport cabinet member Cllr Ian Potter explained: “We recognise that some passengers will be affected by these bus service reductions.
“However, we have worked with Wilts and Dorset to deliver proposals that combine routes, rather than remove services completely.”
The routes affected are 1, 4, 5/6, 89, 14/16 and 32.