After 16 years wheelchair user sees his bus service scrapped
PUBLISHED: 12:05 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:28 22 November 2019
A wheelchair user in Norwich has said the scrapping of the bus he has used for 16 years has led to a “large loss of independence.”
Jack Gray, 39, is a porter in the post room at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and has used Konectbus to commute from his home on West Parade off Earlham Road.
But since September 22, the Konectbus routes 3 and 4, which used to travel though Earlham Road, have been rerouted to Newmarket Road due to "poor passenger numbers".
However, the revised route has left Mr Gray, who has a progressive neurological condition, without a suitable means of transport.
Mr Gray said: "The loss of a route has left me high and dry. When I found out about the change in service I was despondent."
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He now relies on his retired father, Richard Gray, for transport as he said other bus services are more crowded and have a longer journey time.
Mr Gray said: "I'm just very disappointed and it means a large loss of independence for me as I have to rely on my Dad all the time. It is also not a long term strategy."
Other people, including Green Party councillor Denise Carlo, are also campaigning for the route to revert back.
She said: "Passengers valued the Konectbus routes along Earlham Road because they provided direct access to the bus station as well as the hospital."
Managing director of Konectbus, Jeremy Cooper, said: "We will of course keep the changes under review to ensure that the new route benefits more people and we are of course very disappointed to hear that anyone is struggling with the new arrangements. We do run consultations about changes and apologise sincerely if not everyone had a chance to have their views heard."
A spokesperson for First Bus, who have services on Earlham Road, said: "All our buses have an allocated space for a wheelchair and our drivers are required to ask anyone who is situated in the space to vacate the area and move to another part of the bus so a wheelchair user can access the vehicle. It is fair to say that some of our buses are busier in the morning and afternoon 'peak time', but we do everything we can to accommodate everyone who wants to travel with us."
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