Thames Travel's Grove bus route cuts 'very traumatic'

Bus stop by The Green near Grove by Steve Daniels Thames Travel stopped the 32 and 36 bus routes from Grove last year

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Bus users in an Oxfordshire village have said the scrapping of two rural bus routes has been "very traumatic" for them.

Thames Travel stopped the 32 and 36 routes from Grove last year, which it said had low passenger numbers.

Campaigners said, as a result, the 10-mile (16km) journey to Didcot now took them 90 minutes, as they had to change at Wantage.

The county council said it was working to establish local travel needs.

Wendy Preece, whose daughter used use one of the services to get to school, while she looked after her son, whose autism means he has physical and mental disabilities.

'Big problem'

"What we used to do was Milly used to toddle off down to the bus stop, get on the bus and we knew that she was safe and going off to school," Mrs Preece said.

"Now we've got to find a way of getting her from Grove to Wantage to get on to the bus that's going to take her to school.

"That then means the care routine for our son has changed quite dramatically. It might not sound like very much for anybody else, but for us is very, very traumatic."

Liberal Democrat councillor for Grove and Wantage, Zoe Patrick, said the loss was a "big problem".

"People from Grove have to get another bus to get into Wantage first, because it's two-and-a-half miles between Grove and Wantage," she said.

"The buses are not always in the correct order, so you have to wait a long time."

'Limited resources'

Speaking about the changes, local producers' market, Food Jericho ‏tweeted: "Crazy in my opinion. Especially when some communities do not get one bus let alone two."

Thames Travel said: "Our buses took a long time to serve the area... with relatively low passenger numbers that section of the route operated at a significant loss."

It added its "limited resources" were being used where passenger numbers were greater.

A county council spokesman said the two bus services were run commercially by Thames Travel and were not subsidised by the council.

The authority added an audit of current transport provision was planned for next month.

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