Bus Services after the Spending Review - Transport Committee Contents


Written evidence from N Browne (BUS 80)

BUS SERVICE CUTS IN SOMERSET

The 50% bus subsidy cuts in Somerset will affect buses serving medium to large urban areas not just rural villages. In fact fitting work, leisure, hospital and other appointments around the limited hours left around 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday only will in most cases be impossible.

The last bus between the two main towns of Somerset Taunton to Yeovil will leave at 6.50pm weekdays and never on a Sunday.

The use of a car or taxi will be essential, those without cars and unable to afford taxis will be isolated and find that they cannot get to work if they have to work shifts whilst the elderly will have to rely on friends for lifts or drive until they drop.

Many towns across Somerset and Dorset will have no evening or Sunday bus services such as Taunton, Yeovil, Glastonbury, Street Wells, Shepton Mallet, Frome, Weston Super Mare, Mindhead, Bridgewater, Wellington, Crewkerne, Chard, Dorchester Dorset etc.

All evening and Sunday bus links to railway stations are being withdrawn leaving passengers stranded at stations unable to the last few miles. An example is Yeovil Junction on the Waterloo to Exeter line this station is two miles from the twon of Yeovil down a country lane with no street lighting or pavements. Many people use buses to get to rail stations such as Bristol Temple Meads, Bath, Frome, Castle Cary, Axminster, Taunton, Bridgewater, Western Super Mare and Yeovil Junction.

The Rail Network in Somerset is sparse cut back in the 1960's by Doctor Beeching many bus services were introduced to link towns off the Rail Network and have remained to this day but will now have no evening or Sunday bus services.

If you wish to make a day trip by train you may get a bus in the morning to the station but to get a bus home in the evening you will have to catch a train from London for example in the middle of the afternoon.

Visiting patients in hospital in the evenings or on Sunday's will require access to a car or taxi. Regional specialist hospitals such as one at Shepton Mallet which will lose all its evening and Sunday buses will mean patients having to use expensive taxis or hospital transport to reach homes at that time.

Somerset's tourism will suffer, Sunday is the most popular day for visiting attractions, pubs or the countryside. This will now mean using a car all adding to the increasing car traffic in the countryside. Somerset has many foreign tourists who do not have cars and rely on public transport they will find difficulty in just reaching their hotel or B&B. People arriving at Bristol Temple Meads in the evening and wishing to catch a bus to Somerset Glastonbury for example may find themselves stranded having to pay for other accommodation or expensive taxi fares. Many hotel and B&B owners are concerned about these issues.

Young people having to walk home in the evening instead of being able to catch a bus could be more vulnerable to attacks.

Shopping centres will also see a downturn in trade on Sunday's it is a myth everyone goes by car.

The environment will suffer, no buses mean more cars and a large increase in Co2 emissions.

When the 6.50pm bus from Taunton arrives in Yeovil at 8.06 pm no more buses will run anywhere in South Somerset an area stretching from Wiltshire to East Devon until the following morning.

Somerset is not just a rural county many towns like Yeovil are growing fast with new housing and business developments without any public transport and these bus cuts will make things worse. The County will become completely car dependent.

March 2011



 
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Prepared 11 August 2011