CONCERNED passengers are up in arms after learning that Stagecoach plans to cut the number of bus services that go from Cirencester to Swindon.

From Sunday, February 18, the 51A bus will be reduced to a two-hourly service on weekdays, with no services in the late afternoon and early evening.

Local community group Cirencester Action on Buses fears that fewer services will negatively affect a vast variety of people in the town, from young schoolchildren to elderly pensioners.

CAB member David Prewett said: “We are very worried that bus service cuts on this magnitude, will affect children getting to and from school, commuters, people getting to medical appointments, particularly the elderly, disabled and the low waged with young families.

“Many older people do not carry large stock of food at home and rely on daily trips to local shops in the town.

“Others who will be affected are schoolchildren who do not live more than three miles from school and therefore do not get special buses.

“The other critical factor is the availability of surgery and hospital appointments.

"So many appointments are only available in the afternoon and without local buses running these are impossible to get to and return home.

“Cirencester’s outlying districts have steep inclines out of the town and without the Stagecoach No 51A running up the hills, many people with disabilities such as joint and heart problems just will not make it.

“I am sure that people in Cricklade and that part of north Wiltshire currently served by the 51A on an hourly basis will echo these concerns.”

Stagecoach claims that not enough people were using the 51A service at certain times of the day for it to remain financially viable in its current state, so they made some changes.

A spokesman for Stagecoach said: “The journeys that will cease are used by less than one per cent of passengers that travel on services 51 and 51A.

“The journeys effected are operated on a commercial basis, i.e. without any subsidy.

“So if there isn’t anybody using the bus at that time then we cannot justify its continuance.

“The remaining journeys still provide at least an hourly service throughout the day plus extra buses at peak times.