firm attacked for decision to axe evening services in Burnham
operator First has come under attack for its decision to axe evening
bus services between Burnham-On-Sea and Taunton from this weekend.
firm is removing evening journeys on its 21 service which serves
Burnham, Bridgwater and Taunton in a bid to reduce costs.
Sunday July 28th, the last weekday journey from Taunton to Burnham
will be at 7.45pm and the last journey from Burnham-On-Sea will
be at 7.20pm, or 7.05pm on Saturdays, instead of the current service
which runs up to around 10.30pm.
town and district councillor Chris Williams, right, has expressed
his dismay at the decision.
told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "It is a service which needs to
be available. Cutting off a population centre of around 22,000
from the county town is a cut too far, and this needs to be recognised
well as the general reduction in service, my particular concern
is for those who undertake evening visits to patients in Taunton's
Musgrove Park Hospital and who have not got the use of a car."
First spokesman explained that the changes have been brought about
by low numbers of passengers using the services: "While First
has tried to operate these services on a commercial basis since
financial support from Somerset County Council was withdrawn in
2011, they are not commercially viable. Put simply, the number
of people using the buses at these times does not cover the cost
of running the buses themselves."
Cllr Williams is unhappy about the changes, adding: "In the
past, communities have fought long and hard to retain a public
transport service to meet this demand, even though it may not
be for a large number of residents."
are my own personal views and not necessarily the view of either
council, but I intend to bring up the matter officially at both
the Town and District Councils as I am firmly of the opinion that
where reductions in service are proposed either the bus company
concerned or the County Council, who negotiate/comment on proposals,
should be required to at least notify every parish directly affected,
so communities are not bypassed and presented with a fait accompli."