Ruspidge & Soudley
Update Regarding Bus Service Withdrawal From Ruspidge & Soudley
As all residents of Ruspidge & Soudley will be aware, in November 2022 Stagecoach unilaterally took the decision to remove the number 24 bus route from the villages of Ruspidge & Soudley. This was one of a raft of changes and service withdrawals across the county and the removal of the service from our Parish was done without consultation with any of our district or county councillors (or indeed any of our residents).
Understandably, the removal of this vital service has left residents very angry as many relied on this to go to doctors appointments, to work and for shopping in addition to enabling them to connect with other services for longer journeys, leaving many (particularly elderly) residents with no form of public transport at all.
The Parish Council is working alongside FoDCC and Glos CC Councillors and several local residents who are actively campaigning to have this service (or an alternative) reinstated. We will continue to support all efforts to this end.
The Parish Council has written to our MP, Mr Mark Harper (who is now Minister for Transport). It is regrettable that his reply, once received, simply parrotted the County Council’s position on the issue in stating that the cuts were ‘unexpected’ but concentrating on the 350,000 journeys which have been saved. News which is of little comfort to those Parishioners in Ruspidge & Soudley who are now left without a bus at all.
The introduction of the ‘Robin’ service which launched at the same time as the withdrawal of the No 24 bus service was co-incidental and had been planned for some time. This service was never designed to replace our rural bus service but to complement it and we are hearing from Parishioners that their experiences with the service are less than satisfactory.
If you are experiencing any issues with using or booking the Robin, please do let us know so that this can be followed up.
Currently we are aware that Councillors Bernie O’Neill (District Councillor for Ruspidge) and Graham Morgan (County Councillor for Ruspidge & Buckshaft) are actively working and campaigning on behalf of Ruspidge & Soudley to have this service reinstated, either by Stagecoach or by another provider and are in the process of meeting with the relevant Cabinet members at County Hall to attempt to move the issue forwards.
We have attempted, on several occasions, to have the relevant Officers from County Hall attend a public or Parish Council meeting on this subject. To date however, they have declined (for various reasons) and have, most recently, agreed to attend provided a representative from Stagecoach is also in attendance. Unfortunately this is proving difficult as Stagecoach will not reply to our correspondence at all.
Whilst we are aware that Stagecoach have taken this decision on a purely business basis, this is of little comfort to those in our community who are now isolated as a result of the removal of this essential service.
If you would like to be put in touch with the members of the Parish in Ruspidge or Soudley who are spearheading the public campaign, please contact the office and we will pass your details to them.
In the meantime, we continue to advocate on your behalf and urge you to write to your County Councillor and MP to add your voice to this issue.