Bus route battle is just for ticket for Doreen
All is fare in love and war for campaigning pensioner Doreen Sissons.
When Stagecoach bosses decided to reroute a service linking her home in sheltered housing project Oakfield Court, East Herrington, to Doxford Park, Doreen set out to persuade them to change their minds.
“The Number 4 service used to go from outside to Morrison’s every ten minutes,” she said.
“When they changed the route, there was only one bus left that we could use, the one that goes to The Galleries, and that was only every hour.
“If you missed it, you had to wait for an hour or pay for a taxi.
“It is nice if you can just walk out the gate and hop on the bus - the bus was a lifeline for people,” she said.
Doreen invited company bosses to a meeting and drew up map for the route present to them - but without success.
“They said my detour would add 12 minutes to the journey time,” she said.
“I challenged them - I got a timetable from last year, which showed it was only seven minutes from the Board Inn to the shopping centre.”
Eventually Doreen got the call she had been waiting for, confirming the decision had been reversed - but she wasn’t finished yet.
“We did not have a seat in the bus stop, so I rang Nexus,” she said.
“I explained that when we go to the bus stop, we need to be able to sit down.”
Doreen, 86, believes her success shows the importance of not giving up: “A lot of people said ‘You are making all this effort but you will not get anywhere’,” she said.
“But I did and it is pleasing to think that at my age, I have achieved something for people.”
David Parker, Head of Commercial with Stagecoach North East, said: “During a series of community consultations with our customers at Oafield Court, we received valuable feedback on proposed bus route changes across the city and areas of improvement that would benefit passengers.
“After listening to the views of residents, reviewing the recommendations and considering the implications of each response, we can confirm that Service 4, which was withdrawn from service in East Herrington in June 2016, has now been reinstated.”