Labour Councillor urges Public to ‘have their say’ on Bus service changes

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

leigh busOn September 2nd , Sedgemoor’s Labour Chaired Community Scrutiny Committee will be specifically looking at the recent cutbacks and route changes that affect local bus services. Bridgwater South County Councillor Leigh Redman has written to the Bridgwater Mercury questioning their coverage and explaining the situation.

“I read with confusion the article ‘Cuts row bus company wins praise for going extra mile’ in this week’s paper, how can it be good that First have withdrawn services to the vast majority of Bridgwater? I acknowledge the customer service gentleman deserves praise as he is getting a large number of comments from a great number of confused & disgruntled travellers, but talking after the cuts have been implemented is too late and reinstating stops because of press coverage is something that could have been sorted before removal. The removal of routes would have still left a large area of town mainly Hamp and Sydenham without services, these services have still been removed despite numerous complaints. Following a great deal of input from Cllr Tucker and myself WebberBus have been able to step in adding to their College service (but not till September due to commercial issues).

I am frustrated that Bridgwater residents are suffering greatly due to the removal of these services.

To be clear the bus service is relied upon by some of our most needy members of the community (old & young), sometimes changes are hard to understand and consultation is sometimes confusing. I understand Webberbus have sent registrations for 4 new services which they are proposing to commence on 1st September to link in with new contracts they have just obtained from Bridgwater College.

The 4 services are as follows:-

Service A – Bridgwater – North Sydenham covering Fairfax road area. 30 minute frequency from 7-6pm

Service B – Bridgwater – Rhode Lane/Risemoor – hourly service from 9-4pm

Service C – Bridgwater – South Sydenham – Hourly service 9.30 – 3.30

Service D – Bridgwater – Eastern Ave – Bridgwater Hospital – Hourly service 9-4 but one late service at 6.20

This only leaves a couple small areas not covered by some kind of service which are Dunkery Rd (but First are still refining these), Secondly Stockmoor will have no service and thirdly Sommerville Way and Somerset Rd (which are on the back end of Westonzoyland Rd).

Somerset county council officers are in the process of trying to alter the current No 16 route coming into Bridgwater from Westonzoyland to include this area, this will cost SCC more money in subsidy but as long as the amount is reasonable we are hoping Councillor Siggs will be willing to support this.

All in all this is good news but it does still leave Bridgwater short of services during August, there is little that can be done about that as any operator would have to register and give 56 days notice of any new service.

Members of the public can have their say on 2nd September @ Bridgwater and Albion when Sedgemoor district council’s Scrutiny committee (the committee that reviews issues that that effect communities) will be debating the changes to bus services in the town, you must register to speak by contacting Democratic services on 01278 435332.

The work done by local Councillors, Webberbus & Somerset County council officers for Bridgwater as a whole is great and if praise is due it should be directed at the whole of the town and all involved in reacting quickly to the voice of the community.”

Leigh Redman