RESIDENTS have branded a transport service ‘disgraceful’ after they claimed users were forced to miss work and appointments after fail to show buses.

The 56 Arriva bus runs from Bishop Auckland to Durham city every 35 minutes.

Service users have complained the bus is often late or does not show up at all causing an inconvenience for passengers.

Bus passenger Maggie Walton, of West Cornforth – a village the bus passes through – said several people who use the bus in the village are elderly and disabled and fear they will be forced to stay at home if things do not change.

She said: “Lichfield road and Garmondsway road appear to be the worst affected area, these people now feel isolated, stranded and fearful for the upcoming winter.

“We want some answers and want to know what Arriva is going to do about it.

“People have lost work and missed appointments due to not being able to get there because not just one but two buses didn't turn up. One poor woman missed her best friend’s funeral due to this.

“We were disgusted that elderly and disabled people in particular are being disregarded and forgotten about.

“To people in West Cornforth this bus is a lifeline for them to get to appointments and work.

"It was stated at the meeting last night that a young man recently had to move due to the extremely poor service."

Outraged community members recently set up a meeting which saw 25 residents attend to discuss the bus issues.

Residents invited Arriva to the meeting to address their concerns but claimed the company did not respond or attend the meeting.

Bus provider Arriva said: “In 2018, the 56 route was subject to change which altered the route of this bus. The decision to change the route was not taken lightly and was necessary to improve punctuality for the majority of passengers who travel on this service. 

“Arriva is working closely with Durham Country Council to identify actions that will speed up buses and therefore free-up the time needed to re-instate the route at Stobb Cross. To further improve punctuality, from Sunday, October 27, we are adding another vehicle to our fleet which will make our service more resilient to delays. In addition, we are introducing a revised timetable from January 5 that will allow buses more time to complete their journeys, especially at commuter times when there is growing traffic congestion in the Durham area.

“An invitation wasn’t received on this occasion, but we are always happy to meet with community groups.”