Pensioners win battle for supermarket bus service

Booth's car park on Millbrook Way, Penwortham

Booth's car park on Millbrook Way, Penwortham

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Pensioners who threatened to boycott their favourite supermarket after it cut its free bus service have had their “lifeline” restored.

Store chain Booths have linked up with a transport charity to offer an alternative service to and from its Penwortham store.

And today one of the elderly shoppers who launched the protest by complaining direct to company boss Edwin Booth, admitted she was “delighted” by the news.

“We were serious, we weren’t going back there without a bus service,” said 88-year-old Pauline Wilson. “I told the big boss his company would be the losers because we spent a lot of money there every week. So I’m delighted to hear there will be a bus again - even if we do have to pay.”

Mrs Wilson, who admits to having been a loyal Booths shopper for more than two decades, threatened to switch to a rival chain when the free bus was halted on July 31. She said up to two dozen other pensioners - the oldest 93 - who used the twice-weekly service would also boycott the store in Millbrook Way.

“Most are vulnerable on health or mobility grounds,” she said. “The bus service was our lifeline, meaning we could get out to do our shopping. The only alternative was getting taxis and they don’t come cheap.”

Booths have teamed up with Preston Community Transport, a local charity dedicated to independence through mobility and transport, to provide a Dial-A-Ride service. Passengers will be asked to pay only a “nominal” ticket price for the service.

A spokesman for the store said: “It is an on-demand service and if passengers meet the eligibility criteria for Dial-A-Ride - that they experience a mobility restriction of some kind, regardless of age - they can become members of the service and use it to get to Booths and other destinations.”