Sandra Pember’s campaign has succeeded in getting two low-floor buses - so urgently needed by the local community - due to be delivered by summer 2010.
Sandra has been campaigning since September 2007 for low-floor buses to be used on a semi-rural route on the outskirts of Gloucester where there are a high concentration of elderly people as well as a school for 280 disabled children.
A teacher at the school has joined Sandra in her efforts and the local newspaper has been very supportive by publishing several articles and numerous letters. The Liberal Democrats have also helped by using articles in their local newsletters. A petition signed by 2,380 people supporting the cause was handed in to Gloucestershire County Council but was dismissed, and correspondence to the bus company has fallen on deaf ears.
The particular route involved is the Gloucester to Cheltenham bus 97/98 which goes via Longlevens, Innsworth and Churchdown. The problems are mainly with the Longlevens area where the school for 280 disabled children is, and the very high numbers of elderly people (a lot of widows in their 80s and 90s). The school promotes equality and inclusion and as all of the children are currently applying for free bus tickets to enable them to use the buses which go past the school gate into Gloucester, we do have a very good case for low floor buses. The County Council however has refused to acknowledge this need as it says the school has its own transport. They are failing to understand that it is very important for the children to use public transport to enable them to mix with the general public and interact and learn social skills which they will need when older.
There is also at present no local bus to enable elderly and/or disabled people to get to their local shops, church, chemist or doctor's surgery. We are also fighting to get another local bus route (route 6) extended to provide these people with this access. We think we may well get this when Stagecoach reviews its routes this spring. However, we are still campaigning hard, for this and for low-floor buses on the 97/98 route... as are the political parties in the run-up to the local elections in May!
Contact: Sandra Pember
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March 2010: Success! The campaign has worked and we will be getting the low floor buses we urgently need in the coming months.
May 2008: Equality South West is backing the campaign for low level access buses to be introduced on this route.
February 2008: Sandra has had a letter published in her local newspaper.