Councillors in West Somerset have given strong backing to a campaign by the Labour Party to bring back a vital evening bus service.
First group announced last month that it was making drastic cuts to evening services on the 28 route between Minehead and Taunton. The last bus from Minehead now leaves at 6.40 p.m.
West Somerset Labour Party was at the forefront of efforts to save the service, suggesting that there should be later buses at least as far as Williton.
Call for First to ‘reconsider the cuts’
At a meeting on Wednesday(August 14th) West Somerset District Council unanimously backed a motion by Watchet Labour councillor Peter Murphy. The motion said: “The removal of the later services means that people cannot get home on public transport after working in the evening. The council calls upon First to reconsider these cuts which threaten to isolate Minehead from the rest of the district for those people without cars or who cannot afford to hire taxis.”
During the debate, Peter said First and Somerset County Council had lost sight of what running a public service actually means. He said the County Council could do more to ensure that West Somerset was not cut off.
Cuts amount to a curfew for young people
The call to reinstate evening buses has also been unanimously backed at a meeting of Williton Parish Council. In a letter, the council told First: “There are many passengers who will be penalised by the reduction in service, especially youngsters who wish to stay in Minehead for college activities in the evening.”
West Somerset Labour Party secretary Andy Lewis said First should respond to the concerns being voiced. He said: “These savage cuts impose what amounts to a curfew for many people in West Somerset.The Labour Party is glad that elected representatives of all parties and none are backing our call for First to think again.”