Gran, 82, left stranded after bus route she depends on changes

A great says she won’t be able to get to the hospital or the shops because her regular bus has had its route changed. Cancer survivor Audrey Kelly, 82, has spoken of her frustration at the move.

She has relied on the 44 bus to get to and from medical appointments, supermarkets and meetings with family and friends for decades – including during her treatment for bowel cancer at Wythenshawe hospital several years ago.

The south Manchester service has been rerouted, meaning it won’t run past her house. Audrey says she will struggle to make important check-up appointments and look after herself independently.

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“It’s very frustrating,” she told the Manchester Evening News . “Lots of elderly people use the service. It will have a big impact on our independence.”

Audrey, who has lived in Withington for 50 years, says she is concerned for her safety walking to and from Withington village. “At my age, I have lost my confidence. I can handle myself, but I’ve lost my confidence. The brain’s still 18, but the body’s gone!”

Audrey Kelly, 82, has lived in Withington for 50 years

Audrey lives alone. She says the bus is more than just a method of transport to her. She frequently sees people she knows and the bus allows her to enjoy a social life.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) bosses said they ‘do not underestimate the impact service and timetable changes can have’, and that changes are only made when ‘absolutely necessary’.

Audrey’s granddaughter Katie Green, 27, lives in neighboring Stockport. She said the 44 bus has run along her Ella Nan’s road for as long as she can remember.

Audrey is dependent on the 44 bus to get to Wythenshawe Hospital

“She has grown to depend on it,” she said. “Going into the village is a social occasion. She lives on her own and sees so many people in the village.

“The bus keeps her in touch with the people around her. It helps with her mental health and has a real boost to her happiness and wellbeing levels.”

Audrey said she didn’t know about the change, meaning she has been left waiting for the bus several times. She has arthritis and uses a trolley to lean on as she walks, which is difficult to fit in taxis.

“The bus is widely used,” Katie added. “There’s always someone on it.”

Audrey Kelly at her home on Old Moat Lane, Withington

“Most of the old people won’t even know the route has changed,” Audrey added. “I am going to have to get a taxi or get my family to take me.”

Nick Roberts, TfGM’s head of services and commercial development, said: “I’m sorry to hear that this change has caused such concern and would like to reassure the passenger involved that we do not underestimate the impact service and timetable changes can have.

“That is why these decisions are only made when absolutely necessary – for the benefit to passengers or to safeguard the sustainability of services.

“While (the road) will not be specifically served by the 44 following the change on Sunday, April 24, there are several alternative services within close walking distance of the existing service.”

I have encouraged any residents with a disability or mobility issue affected by these changes to contact Ring and Ride.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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