Bus users in the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge area have this week been invited by Somerset County Council to have their say on potential changes to services.
The authority is working in partnership with bus operators in the county to deliver improved services for all, and local people have a pivotal role to play.
Following the Government’s announcement in March of the new National Bus Strategy – ‘Bus Back Better’, a £3 billion pot of funding is being made available to improve bus services across the country and Somerset County Council can bid for a share of this in partnership with operators.
But first, the Council needs to know about residents’ experience and where the gaps in services are.
As part of the process the Council’s Cabinet agreed on 21 June that it would commit to forming an ‘Enhanced Partnership’ with all local bus operators in the county to access funding and improve services.
The first stage involves drawing up an ambitious Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) – a blueprint for future service provision across Somerset which will be used by Government to determine future funding for the County. The public survey will feed into this as well as input from operators and other key stakeholders.
“The most important people in all of this are bus users in Somerset,” says Highbridge county councillor John Woodman, who is also the council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport.
“We need to hear about their experiences and what they think the Council and operators need to be providing terms of services.”
“Please take some time to complete the survey and give us the best possible chance of accessing as much funding as possible.”
The Bus Service Improvement Plan will be published by 31 October. It will be further developed and updated annually.
You can take the survey at: https://somerset.inconsult.uk/somerset.bus.survey/consultationHome