Bus Services after the Spending Review - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from H Oliver (BUS 120)

I am writing regarding the cuts in bus services in Somerset. As from 17 April First bus has stopped all Sunday services between Axminster and Taunton on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Furthermore they have reduced evening services. The last bus from Taunton is now 6.15pm and from Axminster 5.25 pm for anyone wishing to alight at Ilminster. First bus will tell you the reductions are because Somerset County Council has reduced the financial support to them.

It seems only a short time ago the British public were being encouraged to travel by public transport and to therefore save on the use of cars, fuel and congestion. We all know that oil will not last for ever and we are also told that pollution is causing global warming. So we have been doing our bit. Now, however, if anyone in Ilminster wishes to go to Taunton or return in the evening they will need a car. Our local hospital, Musgrove, is in Taunton so for evening visits people will have to use their car (if indeed they have one). There are a lot of people, especially those over 60 years, who never learnt to drive, live in villages and rural areas and are therefore reliant on public transport.

A friend of ours whose son attends Richard Huish College in Taunton and stays after lessons for cricket, etc will now also have to be picked up by a parent in a car. Of course he could just not do any activity after college!

There is also a young girl who works at the out of town Sainsbury on Sundays. How is she going to manage! Not everyone has a car.

Now I do appreciate that buses have to be paid for and I know that some are not well used but they are still essential for those who do use them. When I see the waste that goes on elsewhere it does make me cross. I will give you a for instance.

Some years ago now the powers that be dictated that we should have raised pavement stops so people with impaired walking, or with wheelchairs or buggies could get on buses with low floors. I presume the County Council did this work. Great idea! Unfortunately we very rarely have buses with low floors on the Axminster to Taunton route. And there is a raised pavement stop near Ilminster where there is no pavement on the other side. How would a wheelchair user get off!! Just be tipped out I presume onto the road or verge! What a waste of money, money the County Council could have spent on subsidising the buses.

May 2011

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