Elderly people in Cottonmill left isolated without vital Sunday bus service

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 November 2018

The S4 and S5 bus timetable. Picture: Margaret Giddings

The S4 and S5 bus timetable. Picture: Margaret Giddings


Elderly people are being left isolated and unable to join community events because they live in certain areas of St Albans not serviced by buses on a Sunday.

Resident Margaret Giddings is speaking out on behalf of her 90-year-old mother Peggy Davey, who cannot walk very far and relies on public transport to take her from Cottonmill to St Peter’s Street.

On weekdays and Saturdays Redline operate the S4 into the city, but on Sundays Peggy cannot attend events or browse the shops because there is no service, leaving her feeling left out and isolated.

This means she misses out on popular Sunday events such as the St Albans Christmas Lights Switch On, the Remembrance Sunday ceremony, and St Albans Antique and Vintage Market.

Margaret said: “The bus is her lifeline during the week. She will go in the town for no reason if it is a nice day, she will sit on a bench and talk to people.

“But on a Sunday she can get nowhere, even though a lot of things are only on a Sunday. My 90-year-old mother can’t walk that far, and a lot of older people are stuck in because they can’t get out on a Sunday.

“There are always things in the town to do, or if there’s nothing on in town it would be nice to go up there to shop.

“It’s not easy to get there and taxis are quite expensive.”

If money is the obstacle, Margaret suggested introducing a £1 fare for older people - anything to keep the service running.

“Businesses are all open, the town is thriving, they have the farmers market and other things going on, but a lot of people can’t get to it from this area.”

Peggy has lived in Cottonmill for more than 40 years.

A spokesperson from Redline said: “I do not believe HCC have any plans to extend to a Sunday although you may wish to confirm with them.Unfortunately the service is not sufficiently used to operate without support and any additional journeys or operational days would need some support from the county council.

HCC’s cabinet member for growth, infrastructure, planning and the economy, Derrick Ashley, added: “HCC only supports Sunday bus services that serve local hospitals and this is not the case with the S4 route.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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