Hopper bus axed by Wiltshire Conservatives
The Conservative administration on Wiltshire Council has withdrawn funding for the Hopper bus, which has been taking people from West Wiltshire to the Royal United Hospital in Bath for the last 14 years.
WC will save £130,000 by axeing the service. The decision follows a consultation with groups and individuals who currently use the bus. The council says there won't be a problem as people can use ordinary buses or taxis, or the Non-Emergency Transport Service (NEPT) run by Arriva, or Link Schemes, or by getting lifts from friends and family. The Tory council also points out that by withdrawing the hospital bus they're benefitting the environment by encouraging more people to walk or cycle. Most people who use the service are over seventy years of age, and a high proportion of them are disabled.
During the consultation many users said they'd be prepared to pay more, and to accept a lower frequency timetable to save the Hopper, but the council considers that this would not save it enough money.
Of 291 people who responded to the WC consultation, 236 (81%) said they would find it difficult to get to the hospital without the Hopper.
Although WC Conservatives are telling people to use normal buses, in a separate 'consultation' they're proposing to withdraw all subsidised bus services in rural areas.
See also previous article
To see how the Conservatives justify themselves see Details of the decision on WC website