Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Visually Impaired Student Becomes Latest Victim Of Tory Bus Cuts

Warren Wilson joins Lib Dem Councillors,
Susan van de Ven and Tim Stone
at the bus stop where the Citi 7 will no
longer stop

Cambridge student, Warren Wilson, whose sight is failing due to a rare genetic condition, has become the latest victim of Tory county council spending cuts.

The Citi 7 bus that takes him to Anglia Ruskin University will no longer call at Duxford leaving 21-year-old Warren stranded at home in Kingsway.

A decision by the Conservative-run Cambridgeshire County Council to withdraw the Citi 7 subsidy has led to bus company, Stagecoach terminating the service at Sawston Health Centre.

And Warren, who is in the second year of a history degree, has been left trying to find alternative transport to continue his course.

“This makes me really angry and very frustrated,” said Warren. “I am about to enter the third year of my degree; it a big dissertation year and I’ve been left with no transport. I won’t be able to go to any activities.

“I’m trying to put a contingency plan in place but I shouldn’t have to be worrying about this. The council needs to realise that they are messing with people’s lives and money must come second to that.”

Warren suffers from Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy which has led to his eyesight failing.  His whole field of vision is affected leaving it blurred although he can make out high contrast objects, large objects or those which are close and his condition has stabilised at that level.

His eyesight began failing while he was studying A Levels at Cambridge’s Long Road Sixth Form College and he now uses a long white mobility cane.

Despite his condition, Warren retains his independence and with the help of support workers has learnt his return route to university.

Withdrawing the Citi 7 service means Warren will have to learn a new journey which would involve crossing the M11 slip road with the A505 and walking to the station or relying on a bus from his girlfriend’s home in Stapleford.

“The last thing I want is to be a burden on them or anyone else,” said Warren. “I will have to learn a whole new route and new pathways which is totally unnecessary.”

Duxford’s neighbouring village, Whittlesford is also losing its bus service under the latest round of cuts.

The two villages used to share a bus until the route was split in recent years. Warren believes reinstating a shared bus could save money and increase passengers.

“The road layout between the villages makes it perfect for a shared bus,” he said. “This seems a sensible option to me rather than leaving these villages totally cut off.”

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats have taken up Warren’s fight in a bid to get funding to save the bus.

And Warren has given his support to a petition launched by Shadow Cabinet Member for Transport: Susan van de Ven which can be found at:

He will also be supporting a meeting on bus cuts and transport at the United Reform Church in Whittlesford at 7pm on Thursday (April 26) which is chaired by Lib Dem Councillor, Tim Stone who represents Duxford on the county council.

Cllr van de Ven said: “It is easy for the Tories to make spending cuts on a balance sheet without thinking about how those cuts are impacting on ordinary people in our villages.

“Warren has battled against all the odds to retain his independence and now that is in danger of being taken away because the Tories need to balance their books.

“I am absolutely appalled by these cuts which are leaving rural communities isolated and causing real hardship to people like Warren.”

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