Residents drive fight to save threatened bus services in Hartburn (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Residents drive fight to save theatened bus services in Hartburn
A COMMUNITY threatened with isolation after its bus subsidy was cut is refusing to lose its “essential” public transport without a fight.
Around two hundred concerned Hartburn residents flocked to a public meeting to hear how they could be affected by Stockton Borough Council’s decision to axe the services it helps pay for from next April.
Richard McGuckin, the council’s head of technical services, urged residents to lobby commercial bus operators to pick up withdrawn services and said that a pot of £400,000, which includes the first year’s subsidy allowance, would be made available for third sector initiatives such as minibus services.
Hartburn resident, Trevor Hanson, said: “You have painted a bleak picture of what’s going to happen. I feel the £300,000 in subsidies is money well spent. Public transport is part of the fabric of our society, it’s part of our requirement as citizens of the Stockton area.
Suggestions put forwarded included rerouting the 61 services from Fairfield to pick up passengers on Birkdale Road.
Fellow Hartburn dweller, Jane England, added: “I have got a teenager who I am trying to raise as an independent young man, I do not want him loitering on street corners but he cannot go anywhere.”
Ken Lupton, Hartburn ward councillor, received a round of applause when he said: “We are spending a vast amount on Stockton town centre but we cannot get there. We have to get people down there to use it. “ James Wharton, MP for Stockton South pledged to raise the issue with the Secretary of State for Transport. “It worries me that this is happening when they are spending £35m on the high street. I support its regeneration but I do not support spending such a high amount when it means that people cannot get there.”
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