BUS passengers in Salisbury say they have been left waiting hours for services to arrive.

Christine Wood, who lives in Harnham and uses the R5 bus service, says people have waited at the bus stops in both Harnham and Salisbury for “hours on end, waiting for buses”.

She added that over the last couple of months the situation has gone from “bad to worse”.

The 74-year-old uses the R5 to get into the city centre, and on one occasion waited two hours for a bus to arrive. “It really is a nightmare,” she said.

Mrs Wood told the Journal she has ended up returning home after giving up on waiting for buses and had heard from another passenger that they had missed a hospital appointment.

“This has been weeks and weeks now it has been going on,” she added.

“You stand there and think ‘is one going to come or isn’t it?’ and wait and wait and wait.

"Fortunately, I don’t live too far away from the bus stop so I go home. It is too cold to walk the Town Path and it is quite a long way.”

“You don’t know if it’s coming or not," she said.

Mrs Wood says it is not just the R5 service.

Another bus user, Sarah Mather, who works in a school kitchen in Salisbury and uses the R5 bus to get to and from work, says sometimes services have not turned up on time and she has been waiting for an “hour or so”. She has also nearly been late for work and on one occasion was late.

She said it was “worrying” and added: “It’s been going on for weeks.”

Alex Chutter, Salisbury Reds general manager said: “We are still in the grip of a global pandemic, and the last two years have put a considerable strain on individuals, governments, businesses and services across the world.

“I understand the frustrations people are feeling, they are echoed by our team here at Salisbury Reds. Our previously high levels of service have been compromised in more recent times, and for this I apologise.

“We are doing all we can to minimise any disruption, which is the result of a number of factors impacting our industry, and a number of others, at the moment. We currently have a shortage of drivers, and we are actively recruiting and training prospective colleagues in order to mitigate this issue.

“There have been times when the driver shortage has been further compounded by short notice absence from other colleagues, and it has not been possible to deliver the levels of service we would like to. When we experience network disruption, we try to minimise the impact on any particular service, by bringing in drivers from other routes. Unfortunately, there are still times when this disruption is noticeable and we are very sorry for that.

“I would like to reassure our customers that we are continuing to recruit drivers as efficiently as current circumstances allow, and hope that the new year will provide us with a greater opportunity to return to our usual high standards.”