Have Your Say On Proposed Changes To Somerset Bus Routes

4 November 2014, 14:08 | Updated: 4 November 2014, 14:19


Bus users of services subsidised by Somerset County Council are being urged to have their say on proposed changes to some routes.

The consultation is now open and closes on 29 December. If approved, the proposals will come into effect from May 2015. They would see Demand Responsive Transport, which some people will know as the Slinky bus, be routed to encompass areas which are, or will no longer be, served by traditional subsidised public transport.

These community-based, door-to-door transport services are used by members of the public who cannot access main public transport routes. Users would still have to register to use the service.

The Council aim is to improve efficiency and value for money for the tax payer for both types of bus service. Routes have been identified for change because either:

• The current service has a low level of passenger use
• Other transport services are available on other days of the week
• Alternative services are on offer in that location
• Commercial services may be available in that area in the future.

Routes ear-marked for potential changes, are:

• Taunton to Wells, where we are proposing to withdraw our funding for a Monday to Saturday service. The commercial element of the service will be unaffected.
• A withdrawal of Council-supported services on Saturdays only is proposed for the following routes: Yeovil to Shepton Mallett (1), Bridgwater Town Services (6), Huish Episcopi – Langport – Bridgwater (16), Bridgwater to Street (19), Taunton to Dulverton (25), Athelney – Stoke St Gregory – Taunton (51), Wells – Shepton Mallett – Frome (161), Frome – Midsomer Norton (424), Shipham to Street (668), Shepton Mallett to Glastonbury (669), Shepton Mallett to Midsomer Norton (776), Ilminster and Martock area Demand Responsive Transport linking to N10 (N6), and West Coker to Yeovil (N8)
• A 50% withdrawal of Council funding for supported Saturday journeys are proposed for Chard to Yeovil (99) and Wincanton to Street (667)
• The Council is considering replacing supported services with routed Demand Responsive Transport services for: Donyatt to Crewkerne (9), Langley Marsh to Wellington (10), Bincombe to Bridgwater (18), Shipham to Weston Super Mare (491), Bishopswood to Ilminster (608), Alhampton to Strode College (647) and Bishops Lydeard – Wellington – Taunton (9A)
• A full withdrawal of bus service 102, Bridgwater to Weston Super Mare, is proposed as a number of alternative services already exist in the area.

The results of the consultation will be presented to Somerset County Council’s Cabinet to assist them in making a final decision on any service changes to be introduced in May 2015. Cllr Harvey Siggs, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said:

“The ongoing and harsh reality we face as a County Council is that our Central Government funding to run local services is being reduced, which leaves us no option but to review all our services. These plans are about making our supported bus services more effective, particularly where there are currently low levels of passenger use. We need as many people as possible who use these bus services to come forward and have their say before the consultation closes on Monday 29 December.”

You can complete the consultation online at www.somerset.gov.uk/bussurvey or you can receive a hard copy by calling Somerset direct on 0845 3459 155.