TWELVE-year-old Rhydian Williams will have a more difficult journey to school in September after bus company Stagecoach decided to re-route the number 33 away from the May Hill area where he lives.
His mum, Sarah, says the decision, which will mean the bus will not travel along the A40 between Boxbush and May Hill, will hit schoolchildren and elderly people who need to travel for essential services such as hospital appointments in Glou-
The change is one of a number being introduced by Stagecoach across the Forest from Friday, September 3 to reduce losses.
Rhydian needs to get to John Kyrle High School in Ross and his mum says she will have to change the patterns she works as a primary school supply teacher to get him to or from a bus in Longhope or Huntley.
Mrs Williams said: “There is no provision for a service for the vulnerable elderly and children who need access to the Stagecoach 33 for school and essential services such as the hospital in Gloucester.
“There is a safety issue in expecting children and elderly people to walk from Huntley or the other side of Longhope along the A40, which doesn’t have pavements, and the verges are not suitable for young children and the elderly to walk along.”
In an e-mail to Mrs Williams, Stagecoach West commercial director James O’Neill said passenger numbers continue to fall on several Forest routes and that Gloucestershire County Council has been notified of the changes.
He said: “We have needed to take action to ensure that we have a viable network for the future.
“Our changes will help us retain our service to Mitcheldean while achieving cost savings on poorly used sections of service 24 and weaker stops on service 33 through Boxbush and May Hill.
“It is likely that we will carry a larger number of customers by running via Mitcheldean town rather than along the rural A40 but I understand that for some our change will result in inconvenience.”
Other changes include a later, 6.30pm, departure from Gloucester on the 23 to Coleford but the 7.30am from Lydney to Gloucestershire College at Berry Hill via Yorkley will no longer run because of low numbers.
The 24 between Joy’s Green and Gloucester will be reduced to seven journeys in each direction but the 33 will provide an hourly service between Mitcheldean and the city.
The 9.20am and 4.25pm runs on service 34 between Monmouth and Ross will be cut and the last buses on service 36 will leave Monmouth at 4.25pm and Hereford at 5.40pm.