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Councillor defends First Bus following cuts in Bridgwater
A BRIDGWATER ward councillor has defended First Bus following complaints from customers over cuts to its services.
Service 1 has been replaced by a new timetable with a revised route and Services 2 and 3 have been withdrawn, with alternative services put in place.
As reported, many bus users in Bridgwater criticised the changes, including Phil Akers, whose elderly mother-in-law and dementia sufferer, Audrey Cartwright, became confused and distressed when her bus did not arrive.
However, Wyndham ward councillor Gill Slocombe (pictured) has praised First Bus for going out of its way to help people understand the changes.
She said: “A customer services gentleman has actually been travelling on the bus to help people understand the new route, which is really just in reverse of what it was before – he has even carried bags for people.”
Cllr Slocombe said that after further discussions with First Bus, because of feedback from Mrs Cartwright's son-in-law and residents, First Bus is re-instating the pick-up points at Heathcombe road and Mayfield Drive for Service 14.
She added: “Hopefully this will be fully operational by September. This will ensure there will be no more confusion.
“First Bus is doing this without any subsidy from county, to ensure the community has a bus service, albeit slightly reduced.
“First Bus is to be congratulated and thanked – yes there are some residents in the town who are not getting what they had before but at least they are getting a service.”
Alex Carter, Director for First in the South West, added: “Whilst we acknowledge and regret the difficulties caused for some of our Bridgwater customers as a result of the necessary reductions in service, we have tried hard to maintain as many travel options as we can for local residents, within the limited resource we can sustain financially.
“We are very grateful to Councillor Slocombe for her comments and support. Through her contact and intervention we have managed to retain more local bus links in Bridgwater than originally anticipated.”
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