'We're stuck': TfL apologises after pensioners left without buses

Constitution Hill in Norwich has been closed for five days.

Residents have said they are struggling to get to doctors' appointments due to bus diversions - Credit: PA

Isolated elderly residents have criticised bus diversions that have left them struggling to get to doctors' appointments and collect prescriptions. 

Works by Thames Water in Adelaide Road have closed the C11 bus route between Belsize Park and Swiss Cottage in both directions until September 26. 

Transport for London (TfL) has apologised for the disruption during the “essential work”, but said there are no “viable options” to serve the local community. It advised customers to use alternatives such as Dial-a-Ride services. 

Fellows Road resident Sonia Copeland, 88, relies on the bus to carry out day-to-day tasks. 

She told the Ham&High: “I'm not only thinking of me, there are a lot of elderly people who can’t get around and we’re stuck. 

“I’m completely fed up, and it's not funny having to spend money on taxis.” 

She said a recent cab ride from Finchley Road station cost almost £7, and collecting prescriptions and going to the Post Office have proved challenging. 

Most Read

“There are a lot of elderly people who can’t walk,” she added. “And they haven’t put an alternative on. We are completely isolated.” 

Over on Hawtrey Road, 90-year-old Jacqueline Briegal recently hurt her leg and needs to travel to and from the GP surgery two or three times each week. 

She said: “TfL could have made it easier for everyone by diverting the buses in a more sensible way. 

“We could put up with it for two or three weeks, but for a couple of months it really is a nuisance. For people who aren’t mobile at all, I don’t know how they’re managing.” 

Jacqueline, who does not drive, said her daughter could take her to medical appointments by car but she struggles to find parking. 

“It’s not really far enough away to warrant it, and would be a terrible nuisance,” she added. 

TfL's head of bus business development, Tom Cunnington, said: “We are sorry that customers have suffered disruption while Thames Water carry out essential work that has caused the C11 to be on diversion, and we have tried to minimise the impact.  

“Unfortunately, there are no viable options to serve the affected area with a regular bus service during the works due to the surrounding road layout."  

Mr Cunnington recommended that people impacted could use Dial-a-Ride services, which are open to those that cannot use mainstream transport or are over 85.

More information can be found here: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/dial-a-ride/