THE CARETAKER of a Droitwich sheltered housing scheme has hit out at Diamond Bus, claiming a lifeline service for the Spa’s elderly had deteriorated over the last few months since the operator took over.
Steve Richardson, who works at Chalverton Court, Westbury Avenue, labelled the 18 service ‘disgusting’, adding there had been numerous occasions where the bus had failed to turn up or broken down, leaving residents unable to get to the doctor’s or to other appointments.
Last Friday (March 20), he said, the 9.31am failed to turn up at all and, he claims, having spoken to Diamond he was told the bus had not left the depot, but the following bus was due at 10.31am and that would be coming. He said that bus also failed to turn up, forcing him to complain to Diamond again and meaning the next available one was not until 11.31am.
Then, he added, on Saturday, the first two arrived but there were no more services after that, leaving residents stranded in Droitwich town centre, and there had been three or four missed services since then.
Mr Richardson said: “The residents, most of whom hold bus passes, are constantly having to pay out for taxis after consistently being left stood at the bus stop waiting for the number 18 to turn up but failing to do so.
“Many of the elderly residents here rely solely on the bus service for their only affordable means of getting to and from the town centre and need it to arrive to attend pre-booked doctor’s appointments.
“In the past three weeks at least five services have failed to turn up at the scheduled times.”
He added on each occasion a complaint had been lodged with the bus company, it took the firm 28 days to reply and when it did, all that was said was that the bus had indeed broken down and the operator was ‘sorry for the inconvenience’.
“Residents in their late 80s and 90s should not be left standing out in the cold waiting for a service that does not turn up.”
Now, he said, he had contacted The Standard as a last resort in a bid to get something done.
“These residents feel they are being brushed aside and it is not good enough.” he added.
The Standard contacted Rotala, the parent company of Diamond Bus, yesterday (Thursday) but no one had got back to us by the time we went to press.
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