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York pensioner labels ‘Taxi Tories’ out of touch

Local residents have slammed Tory Council bosses for suggesting that sharing taxis is the answer to vicious cuts to bus funding by York’s Tory and Lib-Dem Coalition.
 
In an audacious attempt to put a positive spin on their recent budget cuts to buses, a top York Tory figure this week suggested that cuts to bus services might be good news “because you can get people together in community groups to share taxis”, claiming that the sharing of taxis would tackle serious issues around social isolation.
 
Labour’s Deputy Leader and member of the council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, Coun. Stuart Barnes, slammed the idea that social benefits might arise from cuts to bus services as “ridiculous”, stating, “cuts to crucial bus services are likely to hinder, not benefit people who are at risk of social isolation.
 
“Stretched household budgets and lack of access to affordable transport are both contributory factors to social isolation. Cutting bus routes will negatively impact on people’s purses and their transport options, hitting hard up people hardest”.
 
Meanwhile, Acomb resident Mary Harlington, who relies on bus services to get around York, reacted with astonishment at the comments from local Conservative councillors, saying:
 
“It’s just incredible how out of touch these people are. I read this week in The Press about the Tory Councillor who said that the most popular form of transport across all socio-economic classes is the taxi.
 
“Me and my friends would love to get taxis rather than the bus so I guess it is popular in that sense, but it’s certainly not something we can afford to do often. With our bus passes travel was free.
 
“Telling us to spend our money on taxis instead of buses reminds me of Norman Tebbit telling people to get ‘on their bikes’ to find work. It’s just so out of touch and has left us feeling worried”.
 
Labour’s transport spokesperson, Coun. David Levene said:
 
"The Lib Dem and Tory bus cuts will have a dramatic effect on people's ability to get around the city outside of weekday daytimes, sending a very negative message about the Coalition's commitment to the early evening economy and dealing with congestion.

"The Lib Dem manifesto specifically promised to protect bus subsidies, and both parties promised to prioritise frontline services - to suggest that sharing taxis can replace those bus services is a slap in the face of York residents and shows how out-of-touch the Conservative-led Coalition is."

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