ELDERLY passengers and students are being left stranded because of an 'appalling' bus service in Winsford, councillors have been told.

Pensioner Dorothy Gibbons said she has been inundated with complaints from people about unreliable hourly 29 Arriva bus which keeps failing to turn up.

The incensed 83-year-old spoke to Winsford Town Council on behalf of residents during an open forum.

Mrs Gibbons said: "It is appalling. I live on Nixon Drive and use the 29 bus to go to the shops but the bus often does not come.

"I have been waiting and waiting and it still doesn't come."

One day when it was raining she said she was stuck in town with her shopping because the bus failed to arrive.

"I will be 84 on May 1 and didn't feel like walking home," she told councillors. "I got a taxi and it cost me £9! I begrudge paying that amount of money when there should be a bus service available."

On another occasion she waiting to go into town with a frail old woman.

"We waited over 20 minutes and the bus didn't come so we decided to walk," she said. "The woman was very frail so I helped her and took her for coffee and cake when we got into town."

Cllr Don Beckett said he had received numerous complaints about the 29 bus. He told councillors: "On a large number of occasions people have spoken to me about being stuck in Winsford because this bus hasn't arrived at all.

"They say over the last six months it has got worse than ever."

Cllr Ailsa Gaskill-Jones said it wasn't just elderly people who were experiencing difficulties with unreliable buses.

"I have two daughters at Sir John Dean's College. They travel on the 31 and 29 and regularly these buses don't arrive. My husband and I both work at home so we can give them a lift when this happens but not everyone is in this position.

"Students are losing attendance."

Cllr Charlie Parkinson called for bus companies to review their timetables so they linked up with train arrivals and departures.

He saw a mum and two young children having to walk home from the train station because a bus departed a minute before a train arrived.

"We as a council should send a message to the bus company to review their routes."

Cllr Mike Kennedy said: "We can't have elderly people having to walk laden with shopping because they are waiting for buses. Something is abysmally wrong. We want a better service in Winsford.

Councillors agreed to write to Arriva to express their concern.

Cllr Brian Clarke said he would urge colleagues at Cheshire West and Chester Council to review bus services.

Arriva was invited to comment but said they did not wish to make a public statement on this matter.