Bus services suffer dozens of cancellations due to lack of staff

More than 40 bus services in Gloucestershire were cancelled the week before last sparking calls for action from council leaders.

Stagecoach West cancelled a total of 48 timetabled bus services serving Stroud and the Five Valleys on June 27.

Bus users say on one route, the 63 which connects Forest Green to Gloucester, via Stroud, they have cancelled 14 buses.

Local resident Adrian Oldman said these bus disruptions are becoming the norm and has asked public transport chiefs at Gloucestershire County Council leaders for answers.

“These are vital services that people rely on to get to work, school, college, hospital and GP appointments, shops, visit friends etc.

“This level of cancellations is now the norm in Stroud District.

“Given the county council’s approach to persuade people to move out of private cars in favour of public transport and active travel, what would the cabinet member responsible for public transport say to show how people can have any confidence in this level of service?”

Education, skills and bus transport cabinet member Philip Robinson said the council is aware of on-going issues with numerous Stagecoach services throughout the county. 

He said the cause of the cancellations is a shortage of drivers which is also a national problem affecting all bus operators. 

“We understand that this issue is particularly prevalent in the Stroud and Cheltenham areas. 

“Although over 100 drivers have been recruited in recent months by Stagecoach and recruitment remains their highest priority.

“We continue to work closely with Stagecoach to understand the scale of the issue and monitor performance and we will continue to raise our concerns with them about the importance of a stable commercial network for the county and its communities.”

Stagecoach West said they understand that cancellations are frustrating and thanked bus users for their patience and understanding.

Stagecoach West operations director Martin Gibbon said:  “As with many industries across the country, we are continuing to face some staffing challenges.

“This, coupled with sickness absence, is having an impact on some of our bus services in Gloucestershire.

“Our teams are working incredibly hard to ensure the vast majority of local services continue to run as normal.”

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