Retired residents urge rethink on plan to cut bus service in Sunderland

Residents at a Sunderland retirement housing development are urging transport chiefs to think again after plans were unveiled to axe a lifeline bus service.

Saturday, 20th April 2019, 09:00 am
Oakfielkd Close residents are complaining of plans to axe the Number 36 bus at East Rainton, pictured at the bus stop in Silksworth Road

Go North East is cutting the 36 service from Heworth to Chester-le-Street.

But residents at Anchor Housing’s Oakfield Court development in East Herrington say that will leave them unable to access their local GP surgery at Silksworth, as well as the Sainsbury’s supermarket in Silksworth Lane.

Eight-nine-year-old Doreen Sissons is leading the campaign to save the service and has roped in support from local councillors.

She said axing the service would have a serious impact on residents, many of whom are entirely dependent on public transport: “They are taking away the 36 bus which takes us to the doctor’s,” she said.

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“They have suggested we take the number four bus from outside where we live at Anchor House, then we have to go to Barnes Park, get off the number four, then we have to cross two main roads to get the bus we need.

“That’s all right if you are fighting fit, but if you are someone who is not or has heavy shopping to carry, it is no good.”

Residents have organised a petition in the hope of persuading the firm to change its mind, but time is running out.

“We have just found out about it this week, and it is going to be taken off in May” said Doreen.

“It is going to affect a lot of people in this area.”

Doreen says residents would be happy with a less frequent service, if it was a matter of cutting costs.

“It is every 20 minutes at the moment - even once an hour would be better than nothing,” she said.

“Once people get to Silksworth, they can always sit in the surgery until it is time to get the bus back.”

A spokesman for public transport executive Nexus said: “The removal of the number 36 is a commercial decision that has been taken by Go North East.

“We are working with local residents and ward councillors to see what alternative options can be put in place with the resources that are available to us.”

The Echo has approached Go North East for a comment.