Updated: December 14, 2011
Anger over planned axe of 'crucial' Burnham-On-Sea bus services

Cash-strapped Somerset County Council has angered bus users in Burnham and Highbridge this week by announcing that two 'crucial' services in the towns may soon be axed.

As part of a raft of financial cutbacks under consideration by the council, the popular 113 bus service, which stops at doctors surgeries in Burnham and Highbridge, plus Burnham Hospital and local schools, has been earmarked to lose all funding.

And the County Council is also considering withdrawing funding for Burnham's evening route 21 service, which goes to Taunton and Bridgwater.

Angry Burnham and Highbridge town councillor Chris Williams, pictured above, told Burnham-On-Sea.com on Tuesday (December 13th): "It's a disgrace that funding for these essential services could be withdrawn."

"The 113 service provides a lifeline for many local people - including the elderly, disabled, care workers and young families who visit the doctor surgeries."

He added: "Stopping the evening bus services to Taunton and Bridgwater would also be hugely disruptive."

Somerset County Council cabinet member Cllr Harvey Siggs told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "It is a hugely difficult decision, but we just will not have the finances to keep subsidising services as we do."

"Subsidies can be as much as £11 per passenger on some routes. There will still be an extensive bus service in Somerset with specialised services for the elderly and vulnerable, vital links to education and health, and no changes to the most popular and important routes on the network."

The proposed cuts to the Burnham services are on its 'preferred option' of three cash-saving proposals under consideration, as outlined in a document here.

The council has launched a public consultation on the plans, which runs for five weeks until January 17th.

The results will be reviewed by a Bus Service Review Task and Finish Group early next year with a final decision expected to be made by the County Council in February 2012.

For full details of the consultation and to submit your comments, click here, or call 0845 345 9155 to have a survey posted to you.

 


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