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More bus cuts

July 8, 2015 1:34 PM

Wiltshire Council wants to axe bus services to save money.

Passenger transport costs the council over £25 million a year. A review of the service was completed in 2011 and cuts of over £4.7 million have been achieved since 2009/2010. However, WC intends to make further cuts in the coming years.

A review of passenger transport, including home to school transport, special education needs and social care transport, public and community transport and concessionary fares is now underway. A major part of the review will be to cut local bus services. This part of the review will also investigate the scope for other approaches to meeting the needs of communities in rural and urban areas, such as making local communities organise services themselves.

The first part of the review will involve developing and assessing options, which will then be tested in a full 12 week public consultation to take place in late 2015 / early 2016. An important element of the pre-consultation stage, which is just beginning and will run through July and August, is to engage with key stakeholders about the feasibility and impact of possible alternative approaches around the delivery of public transport, and this will include stakeholder workshops and a questionnaire.

Pre-consultation details can be found on the consultation webpage at http://consult.wiltshire.gov.uk/portal/ltp/wiltshire_council_public_transport_strategy_review

Alongside this there will be further work to identify what scope there is for further cuts in the other areas of passenger transport, and any proposals that are made as a result will also be consulted on as appropriate.

The cuts are likely to mean the end of many rural bus services - more details to follow.

Meanwhile in Trowbridge Wiltshire Council and the Traffic Commissioners were given the statutory 56 days' notice by First Bus that they would be withdrawing from operating commercially Service 234 (Chippenham - Trowbridge Frome) and Service T1 (Trowbridge Town). This will take effect from 2nd August. Wiltshire Council have ensured that the X34 will continue to be operated by Faresaver on the Chippenham - Trowbridge - Frome route, with some additional services early morning and late afternoon to fill the gaps. Wiltshire Council is now seeking a contract to operate a Trowbridge Town Service between the town centre and Wiltshire Drive/Studley Green, this is likely to be on a reduced frequency to the T1. The St Thomas Rd/Victoria Rd/Hilperton parts of the T1 are likely to be covered by route adjustments to the X34.