A MEETING of the Pershore Public Transport Group has heard that use it or lose it is the stark reality for the future of public transport in and around Pershore.

Bob Gilmore, member of Pershore Public Transport Group, spoke to a joint meeting of Pershore and Evesham Rotarians at the Railway Inn, Defford, on Wednesday, September 5.

Mr Gilmore began by saying that the group is unique in Worcestershire and based on ideas developed by Pershore Town Council’s environment committee in 2012. The group’s first public meeting was held in April 2015.

The Pershore Public Transport Group subsequently merged with the Evesham Bus User Group in 2017 to form the Vale Public Transport Group (VPTG). The objective of the merger being to enable the group to work more closely with the bus and train operators and local authorities to protect, maintain and improve public transport services in Pershore, Evesham and the surrounding villages.

The meeting heard the reality is that funding constraints continue to prevent the improvement of local bus services. The fear is that unless additional funding is made available, several of the larger villages will lose their off peak services and other services may become totally unattractive to the bus companies. The financial viability of these services relies heavily on the general public using them – ‘use it or lose it’ being Mr Gilmore’s overriding concern.

In response to questions from Rotarians, Mr Gilmore said that there are many new houses being built in the area including some 700 within walking distance of Pershore Station, all hoping for a joined up bus and train service for school, work and pensioners.

He also emphasized the point that taxis are not a viable alternative to buses.

Mr Gilmore warned that the planned reduction in First Midland Red’s 50s bus services in September will result in some villages having no service. An option might be for the re-routing of the local hopper facility provided by Astons, but this couldn’t be established before the contract comes up for renewal in April 2019.

In the meantime, the VPTG is looking at facilitating a link-up between the Aston hoppers and the X50 to include the villages that will lose their service from September 2018.

The transport group is an organisation that lives and works in the community and supports the efforts of those trying to improve the lives of others.

For more on Rotary group in Pershore contact Bob Marchant at bobmarchant@uwclub.net or call 07850 996732.