Monday, 9 February 2015

DONT CUT US OFF Article in Shepton Journal

The “Don't Cut Us Off” campaign welcomes the news that the County Council will not remove the bus services on a Saturday in and out of Shepton. We would like to thank all those people that took part in the consultation and those who lobbied the County Council.

The Don't Cut Us Off campaign recognises that without public and bus user pressure the County Council would not have removed the threat of bus services being axed; this against a backdrop of poor advertising and the silence of our county councillor in regard to the bus consultation.

During the process of our campaign we have discovered many deficiencies in our bus timetable that fail to respond to the travelling public’s needs.  This includes timetabling that does not allow connections to railway stations, and bus services that do not connect with other bus services.  One example of this being buses to Wells that do not connect at the bus station, but force the travelling public to run to make connections elsewhere in Wells to get to Bath and Bristol.

The supporters of Don't Cut Us Off are disappointed that all Conservatives voted against the Town Council motion that included holding a meeting between the County Council, bus operators and the people of our town and surrounding areas to discuss better timetabling.  Fortunately the motion was carried on the chairman’s casting vote, so the planned meeting will go ahead and be announced in the Journal soon.

Most people agree that the current timetable does not meet the aspirations of this town.  The County Council effectively subsidises bus operators for running services that do not meet the needs of our community.  This is a waste of subsidy and an abuse of public money.  We want bus operators to earn their subsidy and this would include helping to design a better timetable and promotion of integrated bus services matched to need.

This reprieve of services is welcome, but the complacent relationship that has allowed bus services in our town to fail to serve our community must end. The Don't Cut Us Off campaign calls on all stakeholders to improve public transport, with greater integration of routes and better use of subsidy.  

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