El­derly res­i­dents anx­ious over planned bus cuts

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

El­derly res­i­dents in New Wind­sor and Avon­dale face a long walk to the bus stop if pro­posed cuts to ser­vices go ahead.

The Auck­land Re­gional Trans­port Au­thor­ity is re­view­ing a num­ber of routes through­out the re­gion, in­clud­ing the 104 and 105 ser­vices, which run trips from New Wind­sor to Lyn­n­Mall where many lo­cals do their shop­ping.

ARTA es­ti­mates only five pas­sen­gers are us­ing the bus per trip.

But 93-year-old Mary Farmer says many el­derly res­i­dents will be af­fected if the buses are can­celled.

“I find th­ese buses very help­ful as do many peo­ple.

“If it’s not avail­able it would cause a lot of hard­ship,” she says.

The Avon­dale res­i­dent says a lot of pen­sion­ers no longer drive and would strug­gle to catch other bus ser­vices.

“The other routes are a con­sid­er­able dis­tance away. It would be quite im­pos­si­ble for many el­derly peo­ple to walk those dis­tances.”

She says moth­ers with young chil­dren would also find it hard to get around if the ser­vice is canned.

Mary’s daugh­ter and com­mu­nity board mem­ber Cather­ine Farmer says the loss of the 104 and 105 ser­vices would be a dou­ble blow for el­derly res­i­dents, with some banks no longer hav­ing a lo­cal pres­ence.

“They do some gro­cery shop­ping but if they want to get their bank book checked by a teller they have to go out to Lyn­n­Mall.”

Com­mu­nity board trans­port spokesman Paul Davie says he’s in dis­cus­sions with ARTA about the fu­ture of the route.

Mr Davie is con­cerned at the im­pact can­celling the ser­vice will have on el­derly pas­sen­gers. “Change can be hard for peo­ple like that. Some of them won’t cope with it.”

New Lynn MP David Cun­liffe’s of­fice has also fielded com­plaints from sev­eral con­cerned res­i­dents about the po­ten­tial loss of the ser­vice.

ARTA com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Sharon Hunter says they are mind­ful of the needs of el­derly peo­ple, but other routes are avail­able if the num­bers aren’t there to main­tain the 104 and 105 buses.

She says it’s un­likely the or­gani- sa­tion would con­sider down­grad­ing to a smaller-sized bus.

A let­ter from ARTA sent to the Avon­dale Com­mu­nity Board says in the cur­rent eco­nomic cli­mate, routes that don’t have cer­tain passenger num­bers are be­ing re­viewed.

Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the fu­ture of the ser­vice fin­ished last week, with a de­ci­sion ex­pected in midNovem­ber.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Long wait: Avon­dale res­i­dent Mary Farmer, 93, is con­cerned the pos­si­ble can­cel­la­tion of the 104 and 105 bus ser­vice will leave many el­derly res­i­dents without ac­cess to shops at Lyn­n­Mall.

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