County U-turn over bus service

PUBLISHED: 06:09 02 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:58 31 May 2010

Happy bus-users celebrate the council’s decision - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Happy bus-users celebrate the council's decision - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

A VITAL bus service, which pensioners rely on to visit Saffron Walden, has been given a reprieve by Essex County Council (ECC). The Saffron Walden Shopper replaced the Royal Mail Post Bus in August after the company decided to axe it to cut costs. The Rep

A VITAL bus service, which pensioners rely on to visit Saffron Walden, has been given a reprieve by Essex County Council (ECC).

The Saffron Walden Shopper replaced the Royal Mail Post Bus in August after the company decided to axe it to cut costs.

The Reporter launched a campaign to save the Post Bus and ECC stepped in to give pensioners a replacement service which began on August 29.

And now ECC has announced the Shopper service, which was due to have made its final journey on Friday, will run for the foreseeable future.

Arthritis sufferer Eunice Whewell, 86, of Newport, said she was pleased the Shopper was continuing.

"We were told the service was going to run twice a week for two extra weeks beyond October 27, and everyone who uses it is delighted the council have decided to keep it going," she said.

"It's very convenient as the bus driver lives in my road and hopefully the county council will come up with a long term solution to keep the service running for good."

Mrs Whewell added that she would not be able to visit the town if the Shopper service ceased.

"Carrying heavy bags is impossible for me as I'm very unsteady on my feet, so the Shopper really does mean the world to me," she said.

"The Shopper is lovely, with plenty of leg room and it's very easy to get on and off. Although the Post Bus ran five times a week, being able to get into

Saffron Walden twice a week is perfect."

Covering exactly the same route as the Post Bus, the Shopper, which has been provided through ECC's Community Link scheme, stops in Langley, Clavering, Newport, Wicken Bonhunt and Littlebury en route to Saffron Walden.

The service is free to use whether you own an Essex Travelpass or not.

Pamela Pinner, 81, of Newport, relies on the Shopper to do her shopping and banking in the town.

She said: "It's brilliant news that the service is continuing to run for until further notice as I'm really pleased to still be able to get into Saffron Walden.

"I've got no complaints that the Shopper is being kept running on a semi-permanent basis, but it would be good if the county council could save it permanently."

An ECC spokeswoman said: "The Saffron Walden Shopper will continue to be provided in its present form until further notice.

"We cannot give any guarantees or an exact date as to how long it will continue to be provided at this time, but it will run for the foreseeable future.

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