First Bus remain defiant
December 06, 2007
FIRST Bus has remained defiant in the face of criticism for cancelling the 191 service from Bracknell to Reading.
A group of annoyed former 191 users have organised a petition in protest, but bus company spokesman Andrew Taylor said there was little chance it would make any difference.
Bus users are angry the direct service from Slough through Bracknell to Reading has gone. They now have to change at Bracknell bus station.
Frank Blakey, of Great Hollands, said on The Bracknell Forest Standard website: “Spending time waiting about in my wheelchair and changing buses is very difficult for me as my legs get very painful. “I hate you First Bus for what you have done to me. You are taking away my freedom and independence.”
People have accused First Bus of forcing them back into their cars.
Anne Ireland, of Crowthorne, said on the website: “If there are no local public services then we have to use our cars whether we like it or not.”
And Beatrice Line, of Birch Hill in Bracknell, said: “So much for taking people out of their cars, you are driving people back into them.”
But Mr Taylor said: “Encouraging people out of their cars and on to public transport is down to central Government.
“As a commercial bus operator we cannot run a service at a loss. I have sympathy but we wouldn’t have taken the 191 off if there was sufficient demand for it.”
First Bus have also been accused of not providing sufficient timetabling information regarding the cancellation.
Ms Line said: “Where are the new December 2007 bus timetables then? I went in to Bracknell bus station and there were none.”
Mr Taylor said: “All the stops affected by the 191 had notices put up in them.”
The petition is available to sign at the Bracknell bus station office.
Frank Blakey, who helped organise the petition, said “We even have support from a few of the nicer bus drivers who wish to remain nameless. You know who you are, thanks for supporting our cause.”