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Parents of seriously ill children face seeing their bus service to hospice axed
11:50am Tuesday 5th November 2013 in News
PARENTS could struggle to visit their seriously-ill children if a bus service is axed.
It is feared visitors will be unable to reach Little Havens Hospice by bus if the number three Monday to Saturday service from Canvey to Southend is cut.
Essex County Council is consulting on around 39 routes across Basildon, Southend and Castle Point which could be scrapped in a bid to reduce some of the £7.9 million it spends on subsidies.
Resident Allen Knight, 71, who lives near to the hospice in Daws Heath Road, Thundersley, said: “I try to use the number three bus as often as possible to visit Rayleigh, Southend, and Hadleigh for bus links to Southend Hospital.
“I am concerned about the impact cutting this service would have.
“I’m particularly concerned about people wanting to visit Little Havens Hospice, in Daws Heath Road.
“It could make it really difficult for families without cars to visit their children.
“It will also have a big impact on elderly people living around here that want to get in to Southend and Canvey.
“To get another service it could mean they have to walk a mile and a quarter.”
A spokesman for the hospice said it was important public transport to Little Havens was maintained.
They said: “It is important for any hospice, Little Havens included, to have as many transport options as possible, whether that’s for people visiting their loved ones or the staff and volunteers who help to run the hospice.
“We’re grateful for local residents’ concern and action.”
Around 85 per cent of routes in Essex are run by private companies, but the council pays for many evening, weekend and bank holiday services which would otherwise make little or no profit.
The council has launched a 12- week consultation to find out which services are most important to residents, councils and businesses and which ones it can reduce or withdraw.
The consultation closes on December 9.
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