Campaign against ‘severe’ cuts to Charlwood’s bus services

Hands Off Our Bus campaigners
Hands Off Our Bus campaigners

Charlwood residents have started a campaign to reverse ‘severe’ cuts to their local bus service.

The Hands Off Our Bus group has opposed the changes to Metrobus’s 526/7 service through the village west of Gatwick.

Resident Linn Brackenbury said the service’s timetable and number of stops in the village were severely cut on August 29.

Another bus operator South Down PSV cut its service from Russ Hill Hotel via Charlwood to Gatwick Airport earlier this year.

She said: “This is now the only bus through the village, now that the one servicing the Hotels has been withdrawn, and we rely on it to get to work, medical appointments.

“I am also aware that there are individuals who have had to cut their hours as a result of there not being a bus back at the time they need it, at least one of them has a young family to support and needs the income to care for them.

“There are young adults unable to use the new service to get to their educational establishments because the bus doesn’t start early enough.

“There are a fair number of older people in the village who also rely on this bus service. Not everyone has a car, some choose not to drive and some do not have the option of a lift from another driver.”

A spokesman for Metrobus said it ran its services to Charlwood under contract to Surrey County Council.

He said routes 526/7 were replaced by route 26 as a result of the council’s Local Transport Review.

The service was changed on August 29 to run between Crawley and Horley Station Interchange via an existing route via Ifield, The Orchard, Charlwood and Hookwood.

Service to Gatwick Airport was withdrawn.

Its section via Smallfield and Burstow was taken over by a revised Southdown PSV’s 424 route.

A county council spokesman said: “The bus review was all about saving local taxpayers £2m while maintaining services residents rely on most and the first phase has come up with a plan that means people can still make virtually all the journeys they do now while saving £840,000.

“This is important due to the huge financial pressures we face and spiralling demand for social care and school places.”

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