MORE than 200 people have joined a campaign against plans to divert a bus service away from a York community.

First is set to introduce changes to its No11 route, which travels between Bishopthorpe and Ashley Park, next month, meaning the service will cut out the South Bank area, but the decision has sparked anger among residents.

A petition, which so far contains 220 signatures, has been set up amid fears the service changes will cause problems for many people, particularly the elderly, in using local buses.

First has said the rerouted service will come into force on October 7 and the alterations have been designed to cut down on timetable delays. Shopkeeper John Young, who runs D&K Stores in Albemarle Road, said: “The community is appalled by the decision.

“If First are serious in this approach, cutting the service without consultation and without making clear what their issues are and how they might be overcome, working with their customers to do so, then frankly they are not fit to receive the subsidy bus companies attract from taxpayers.

“All of this is a poor reflection of First’s management and their ability to deliver public services or engage with their customers.”

Scarcroft Hill resident Ann Petherick said she had written to First airing her concerns that elderly passengers would struggle to access bus services once the changes begin.

She said “It is very important to them, because one reason a lot of people moved to South Bank was due to the fact it had a good local post office and a good local bus service – now it will have neither.”

A spokesman for First said: “We have registered to make some timetable changes to service number 11 from Ashley Park to Bishopthorpe.

“These are due to come into effect on Sunday, October 7, and will further improve the timekeeping of our buses on this route. These changes are part of our overall aim to improve the customer experience on our buses in York.

“We are in discussions with City of York Council about the timetable changes to service 11 and will work with them to find the most suitable solution to the issues raised by local residents.”