Pressure is increasing on Plymouth’s Tory administration to protect bus services in the city.

Labour councillor for Drake ward, Charlotte Holloway, has written to leader Richard Bingley and the cabinet member for transport, Jonathan Drean, pleading with them to reconsider the decision to cut the number 31 route. 

It comes as Independent Alliance leader and councillor for Compton, Nick Kelly, also wrote to Cllr Drean urging him to rethink a decision remove the Saturday service of the number 27 Citybus service. 

Cllr Holloway’s plea comes ahead of February’s budget setting meeting which will include plans to address the £37.6 million budget gap.

The decision to cut the 31 route – which served parts of Mutley, Peverell, Pennycross and Beacon Park – took effect in December and relied on a subsidy from Plymouth City Council.  

Cllr Holloway says she has been speaking to many affected residents along with Drake ward’s Labour candidate Paul McNamara.

In the letter to Cllr Drean, who serves Budshead, Cllr Holloway said: “I cannot overstate the extent to which the bus is a lifeline to residents across Plymouth.

“Many with mobility challenges have told me they feel trapped in their homes and during a cost of living crisis are unable to afford cab fares to get out and do the basics – get the weekly shop, see friends, to do the basics of life. 

“Some have told me they bought their retirement homes in Drake ward precisely because the bus route offered them a way to stay connected.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Kelly has written to the cabinet member for transport formally requesting he re-visits the decision to cut “this valued bus service.”

The number 27 was among a number of routes saved from the axe but reduced to only run Monday to Friday. Plymouth Citybus said it was unable to run the service on Saturdays after funding was cut. 

In his email to Cllr Drean, Cllr Kelly added: “As you can see residents are extremely upset and concerned about the removal of this service. I truly hope you listen and react to our residents’ concerns.”

In January cabinet members agreed to cut funding for five out of 14 routes in the city; arguing that to save them all would cost £1 million a year.