Revolt as free bus faces axe

Pensioners upset at scrapping of free bus
Pensioners upset at scrapping of free bus
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Supermarket chain Booths is facing a pensioners’ revolt after scrapping a free bus service to one of its stores.

Two dozen elderly customers who rely on the twice-weekly service at the Penwortham branch say they will be “left high and dry” when it is axed next week to save cash.

One, an 88-year-old who has been a “loyal” Booths shopper for more than 20 years, has pledged to boycott the company and says other regulars who use the Tuesday/Friday service are also looking elsewhere in protest. In a letter to company boss Edwin Booth, Pauline Wilson told him: “I’ve spent £295.98 in the past four weeks in your store. Don’t lose more than you gain Mr Booth. There’s always a comeback.”

Mrs Wilson, who lives in Martinfield Road, Penwortham has been using the free bus since it was launched. She says it is a “lifeline” for her and around 24 other pensioners who don’t live on a regular bus route and have no relatives nearby who can drive them.

“If all of us spend a minimum of £10 then that’s £240 the store won’t be getting now,” she said. “But actually it’s a lot more than that.

“The eldest is 93 and the youngest about 70. We all rely on it.

“Most are vulnerable on health or mobility grounds. We are losing our independence and we are very upset. I won’t be going back to Booths after all these years, and others feel like that too.”

A company spokesman said: “It is with regret that the service will end on July 31. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause some shoppers. Customer feedback indicates that our shoppers require a better service in store and we will be focusing our resource on this request.

“Should you be affected by this change, please do speak to Paul our store manager and we will try and help where at all possible with information for alternative travel arrangements.”