First Bus reveals cuts to services in Somerset

1:53pm Tuesday 22nd February 2011

By David Hemming

FIRST Bus has today revealed the routes throughout the county facing the chop after Somerset County Council said it would cut £3.6million from subsidies.

Weekend and bank holiday services on the following First routes in Somerset are affected.

Services: 1 (in Taunton), 4 (in Taunton), 14, 21/21A, 22/92/192, 25, 28, 29, 30A, 54, 58, 61, 102, 112, 126, 161, 173, 375, 376, 377, 670, 901, 932, 968, 980, X25.

Monday to Friday daytime journeys on the same routes are unaffected by the changes and will continue to run as normal, operating on a purely commercial basis as they do at present.

The changes that First is making itself affect Services: 4 (in Yeovil), 5 (in Bath), 52 (in Yeovil), 353 and X1.

First says it has done what it can to minimise the impact of the council cuts on local people and where possible it has taken on some of the previously supported bus journeys, opting to run them on a commercial ‘Use it or Lose it’ basis for a trial period.

This has not been possible in all case though and so some evening services and those running on Sunday’s and or public holidays have been withdrawn entirely.

New timetable information for the services that will be altered will be made available for customers in early April, approximately two weeks ahead of the changes taking effect.

Specific changes in Somerset from April 17

Service 1 (Taunton Town Service, Ladymead Road - Blackbrook via Ladymead Road, Town Centre, Normandy Drive): Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for evening journeys operating Monday – Saturday, as a result the last two evening journeys in both directions will be removed from the timetable.

Service 4 (Taunton Town Service, Lane Estate - Galmington via Wheatley Crescent, Town Centre, Musgrove Park Hospital):Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for evening journeys operating Monday – Saturday, as such the service will cease to operate at circa 1900 hrs on these days from 17 April.

Service 14 (Watchet – Bridgwater via Nether Stowey, Cannington, Wembdon): Services on Sundays and Public Holidays are being withdrawn entirely as Somerset County Council has removed its support for these journeys.

Service 21/21A (Taunton – Burnham on Sea via Brittons Ash, Bridgwater, Highbridge): Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for journeys operating on Sundays and Public Holidays.

First has assessed the impact of this decision and will continue to run services on Sundays only (not public holidays). This is being done on a use it or lose it basis for a trial period.

Service 22 (Ladymead Road - Taunton - Wellington - Rockwell Green): Service 92/192 (Taunton - Cullompton – Exeter): Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for services running in the evenings and on Sundays and Public Holidays.

Noting the impact this change would have on local people First has agreed to run services on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings on a commercial basis, while on Sundays it will run services commercially during the day.

It will not operate services on Public Holidays. There will be some changes to the timetable on Sundays, with some journeys renumbered and shortened, and four journeys withdrawn entirely. All journeys are being operated on a use it or lose it basis for a trial period.

Service 25 (Taunton - Wiveliscombe - Langley Marsh), Service 25B (Taunton – Dulverton): Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for services running in the evenings and on Sundays and Public Holidays.

In addition to this Devon County Council has withdrawn support for two early morning journeys between Wiveliscombe and Bampton. As a result of these cuts in funding all previously supported journeys will be withdrawn.

In addition to these changes, one early evening journey from Dulverton to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton (at 17.30) is being amended by First.

From 17 April buses will terminate at Taunton Bus Station rather than the hospital.

Service 28 (Taunton – Minehead via Bishops Lydeard, Williton and Watchet): Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for services running on Sundays, Public Holidays and on Monday - Saturday evenings.

First has assessed the impact of the changes and has decided to operate all journeys on Sundays and Public Holidays on a commercial basis instead, albeit on a use it, or lose it basis. In addition First will run a reduced frequency commercial service on Monday - Saturday evenings from 17 April, again on a use it, or lose it trial basis.

The changes mean that people will still be able to travel, but during the evenings there will be slightly fewer journey opportunities.

In addition to these changes, First has added in one additional journey in either direction to the Sunday / Public Holiday timetable. These additional journeys give people travelling to and from Butlins in Minehead earlier travel options.

Service 29 (Wells – Taunton via Glastonbury, Street, Othery): While retaining its support for selected journeys running Monday – Saturday daytime, Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for journeys on Sundays and Public Holidays. As such all journeys on Sundays and Public Holidays will be withdrawn from 17 April.

Service 30A (Taunton – Axminster Via Ashill, Ilminster, Chard): While retaining its support for handful of journeys running either in the early morning or the evening between Monday – Saturday daytime, Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for journeys on Sundays and Public Holidays. As such all journeys on Sundays and Public Holidays will be withdrawn from 17 April.

Service 54 (Taunton - Yeovil): While retaining its support for Service 54C/154 journeys between Yeovil and Taunton, which run once a day in either direction (Monday – Saturday), Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for evening services during the week.

In addition First has removed one journey from the timetable: the Service 54B journey that currently runs between Ilchester and Yeovil in the morning. As such five journeys in total will be withdrawn. Service 58 (Yeovil - Wincanton): Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for services running on Sundays, Public Holidays and on Monday - Saturday evenings. As such all Service 58 journeys at these times will be withdrawn from 17 April.

Service 61 (Chard - Yeovil): This service, which is currently operated by First under contract to Somerset County Council, has been withdrawn by the Council.

Service 102 (Weston-super-Mare – Puriton via East Brent, Burnham-on-Sea, Highbridge): While retaining its support journeys running during the day Monday – Saturday, Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for services running on Sundays and Public Holidays. As such all journeys on Sundays and Public Holidays will be withdrawn from 17 April.

Service 112 (Weston-super-Mare – Highbridge via Brean, Berrow, Burnham-on-Sea): Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for journeys running on Monday – Friday evenings, and on Sundays and Public Holidays. To reduce the impact of this decision First has decided to operate all Sunday journeys on a commercial basis (at present half are supported, half are commercial) during the summer (Easter – October). These journeys will run on a use it or lose it basis. All supported journeys that operate on Monday – Friday evenings are being withdrawn from 17 April.

Service 126 (Wells – Weston-super-Mare): Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for those journeys on Monday - Sunday evening that are currently tendered. As a result of this three journeys in both directions are being withdrawn from 17 April. First is currently discussing the matter with North Somerset Council, who, to date, partially supported the affected journeys.

Service 161 (Wells – Frome via Shepton Mallet, Stoke St Michael, Nunney): While retaining support for a handful of journeys running during the day Monday – Saturday, Somerset County Council is withdrawing funding for most evening services and all journeys on Sundays and Public Holidays. As a result of the changes, the last bus from Wells to Frome (Monday – Saturday) will now be the 1755 journey, returning from Frome at 1911. All services on Sundays and Public Holidays are withdrawn from 17 April.

Service 173 (Bath - Wells): Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for services on Sundays and Public Holidays. First has decided to operate a number of the affected journeys on a commercial, use it or lose it basis for a trial period. Along with this Bath & North East Somerset Council, who has to date partially supported the affected journeys, has issued a number of tenders to determine whether or not they are able to provide some of the withdrawn journeys on this route.

Service 375 (Wells – Bridgwater via Glastonbury, Street, Woolavington): While retaining support for a handful of journeys running during the day Monday – Saturday, Somerset County Council is withdrawing funding all journeys on Sundays and Public Holidays; as such all journeys on these days will be withdrawn.

Service 376 (Bristol – Street via Clutton, Farrington Gurney, Wells, Glastonbury): Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for evening journeys and those on Sundays and Public Holidays.

First has decided to operate a number of the affected journeys on a commercial, use it or lose it basis for a trial period. Along with this Bath & North East Somerset Council, who has to date partially supported the affected journeys, has issued a number of tenders to determine whether or not they are able to provide some of the withdrawn journeys on this route.

Service 377 (Wells – Yeovil via Glastonbury, Street and Somerton): Somerset County Council has withdrawn its support for most evening journeys operating Monday – Friday, and for all journeys on Sundays and Public Holidays.Recognising the impact these changes may have on local people First will run services on Sundays on a commercial basis for a trial, use it or lose it, period. Unfortunately all services on Public Holidays are being withdrawn from 17 April.

Service 670 (Burnham on Sea – Wookey Hole via Highbridge, Mark, Wedmore, Wells): Somerset County Council has withdrawn support for this service, which comprises of four journeys in both directions on Sundays and Public Holidays. As a result of this change, all journeys are being withdrawn. The Monday – Saturday service, which is currently operated by a third party under contract to the Council, is unaffected and will continue to operate as normal.

Service 901 (Wells and Wincanton Via Shepton Mallet, Castle Cary Station)

Service 932 (Yeovil Town Service, Borough - Cavalier Way via Bus Station, Lyde Road)

Service 968 (Yeovil Town Service, Forest Hill – Barwick via Borough, Bus Station, Stoford) and Service 980 (Yeovil Town Service, Borough - Wessex Road):

These services, which are currently operated by First under contract to Somerset County Council, have been withdrawn by the Council.

Service X25 (Weston-super-Mare – Cribbs Causeway): North Somerset Council has withdrawn its support for some of the journeys it supports on this service, as such the 1600 (Monday – Friday) journey from Weston – Clevedon, and the 1840 (Monday – Saturday) Weston – Clevedon journey are being removed from the timetable.

First is also making some making the following changes (independent of the Council cuts):

Service 4 (Yeovil Town Service, Borough - Bus Station via Forest Hill): Due to low passenger numbers and in order to better utilise its limited resources, First is withdrawing this service, effective as of 17 April.

Service 5 (Bath Bus Station – Whiteway):The timetable of this service is changing slightly in the morning peak, and the route of one journey, the 0721 departure from the bus station, is being changed slightly to operate via Whiteway Circle.

Service 52 (Yeovil – Martock): As a result of low passenger demand two journeys, operated on school days only, are being removed from the timetable. They are the 0743 journey from Martock (Pinnacle) to Yeovil Bus Station, and the 1520 journey from Preston School to Tintinhull (Lamb Inn). Service 353 (Bristol – Weston-super-Mare):The timetable of this service is being altered slightly with one early morning journey (Monday – Saturday) from Bristol brought forward by ten minutes, from 0705 to 0655.

Service X1 (Weston-super-Mare – Bristol):The timetable of this service is being altered slightly. Three Monday – Friday journeys from Weston-super-Mare are being changed, with two brought forward, and one pushed back. Customers are advised to check the new timetable before travelling.

HOW will these changes affect you? Leave your comments below or if you are from the Taunton and West Somerset area e-mail newsdesk@countygazette.co.uk, if you are from the Bridgwater area e-mail newsdesk@bridgwatermercury.co.uk, if you are from Burnham and Highbridge e-mail newsdesk@burnhamnews.co.uk, or if you are from the Chard, Ilminster and Yeovil area e-mail newsdesk@chardandilminsternews.co.uk

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