D Day veteran wages war over changes to his bus route

March 25, 2010 11:40 AM

David HowarthD Day veteran, Derek Brightman, is fighting a battle with giant bus company, Stagecoach after route changes threaten to make life difficult for 160 of his elderly neighbours.

Mr Brightman, 85, who served in the Royal Navy during the 1944 D Day landings on Gold Beach in Normandy, has called on Cambridge MP David Howarth to support his fight.

He claims Stagecoach's decision to change the routes for the Citi 1 and Citi 2 buses on April 4 so that they no longer stop in Cherry Hinton Road, leaves pensioners struggling to get to Addenbrooke's Hospital and Tesco at Fulbourn.

"I am weary of battles," said Mr Brightman, of Ventress Farm Court, Cambridge. "I want to win this one.

"These changes make life extremely difficult for all the elderly people who live round here. They have to walk along the road to the next stop and many of them are not capable of doing that; they are in wheelchairs or using mobility scooters.

"I am asking Stagecoach to allow us to keep one of the buses. Give us a chance; let us keep of bit of independence. We are not asking for the earth, just the chance to be able to get to our clinic appointments and go shopping at Tesco."

Mr Brightman's wife, also 85, suffers from curvature of the spine; despite her disability, the local bus service allowed here to make daily visits to her husband during his recent stay in hospital.

"If these changes are allowed to go-ahead she won't be able to make that journey if she needs to next time," added Mr Brightman.

Mr Howarth has taken up Mr Brightman's case and has written to Andy Campbell, Stagecoach Managing Director.

"It is abundantly clear from this case that simple changes to a bus route can have serious consequences for people who have come to rely on that service," said Mr Howarth.

"I am urging Stagecoach to reconsider this decision. It is vital that we do everything in our power to allow people to keep as much independence as they can as they get older."

Julian Huppert, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge said: "This decision by Stagecoach to change the route for these two buses has serious implications for Mr Brightman and his neighbours.

"It is imperative that Stagecoach rethinks this decision as a matter of urgency and fully investigates the effect on passengers of any future route changes to ensure that other people are not put in this intolerable position."

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