Thursday, 31 March 2016

Save the 53 and 58 from further CUTS

Dont forget you only have until the 4th of April to help to save the 53 Frome to Warminster and the 58 Frome to Westbury buses
Use this link to take part in Wiltshires bus consultation if you haven't already . before it is to late and these buses are lost for good

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Warning for 267 commuters

Any commuter who catches the 1810 bus back from Bath  at present could be caught out by the new times from 24th of April,  the time has been altered to 1910. If you happen to miss the 1730 bus I hope that the Cafes are still open as you will have to wait until 1910 for the next bus

Quick update for 267 users

From the 24th April the 267 will not be making any route changes so will still serve Green Lane

Up date for bus pass users

From the 1st April you will not be able to use your bus pass before 9.30 am  from Mon - Fri . The free companion element is also being removed from the 1st of April so if you travel with a companion / carer they will have to pay full fare
Concessionary Card Holders, can remain using their passes at any time on a Weekend. Only Mon-Fri has changed from 09:00 to 09:30.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Changes to bus services from 24th April

There is just one minor change we have made insofar that the 0810 trip departing Bath will no longer divert into Ralph Allen School so it will come into Frome just after 0900 rather than 20-25 minutes later. No other changes are being made to the x67 or to the x34.

NEW 267 BUS TIMES  from 24th April
Monday to Friday
Direction of Frome to Bath
dep Frome 0554  0658  0757  0914 and 14 mins past the hour until 1619   1739 (  1835 that only goes as far as Frome market place )  2000   2200 (  0004 that only goes as far as Frome market place )
arr Bath 0658  0813  0914  1015 and 15 mins past the hour until 1618  1724  1841  2055  2255
Direction of Bath to Frome
dep Bath 0703  0818  0919  1020 and 20 mins past the hour until 1630  1730  1910  2110  2310
arr Frome 0757  0914 and 14 mins past the hour until 1619  1739  1855  2000  2200  0004 ( along with the 0548 from Frome market place that only  goes as  far as Westover )
Direction of Frome to Bath
dep Frome 0657  0801  0859  1004  1104  1209  1309  1414  1514  1616  1732 ( 1832 only goes as far as Frome market place )  2000  2200 ( 0004 that only goes as far as Frome market place )
arr Bath 0800  0905  1003  1108  1210  1315  1415  1515  1616  1718  1833  2055  2255
Direction of Bath to Frome
dep Bath 0805  0910   1010 1115  1215  1320  1630  1730  1910  2100  2310
arr Frome 0859  1004  1104  1209  1309  1414  1514  1616  1732  1832  2000  2200  0004 (  the  0651 and 0 754 from Frome market place only goes as far as  Westover )
Sunday and Bank holiday
Direction Frome to Bath
dep Frome 0925  1123  1423  1623 ( the 1823 that goes as far as Frome market place)
arr Bath 1023  1223  1523  1723
Direction Bath to Frome
dep Bath 1030  1230  1530  1730
arr Frome 1123  1323  1623  1823 ( the 0918 from Frome market place that only goes as far as Westover )

Monday, 21 March 2016

Changes affecting 267 bus service from 24th April

Update from Bath travel for 267
Service 267 – Bath – Frome
The timetable of Service 267 will be significantly altered to address current issues of punctuality and reliability and to provide spacing between Service 267 and Faresaver Service X67.
The majority of departure times from Bath and Frome will change. The majority of off peak journeys will depart Bath at 20 minutes past each hour, and Frome at 26 minutes past each hour.
The 2010 departure from Bath will be withdrawn

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Threat to 267 evening buses

It has been confirmed that the Bath to Frome 2010 bus has been cut by First bus, this service will cease to operate from 24th April. With B&NES needing to reduce 38 million in funding are more cuts going to happen next year.

I would urge bus users to contact their local councillors and Mp to inform them how much cuts to this bus would affect you before it is lost.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Elected Mayors ahead of the Buses Bill

Bath and North East Somerset are voting on a new elected Mayor on the 10th March ahead of the Buses Bill that is going through Parliament in the next couple of weeks.
This could give Bath and North East Somerset County council new powers to franchise and possibly improve public transport.

Somerset and Devon are also looking at the possibility of electing a Mayor to govern across both Counties.

Were will that leave more rural areas such as Frome and their surrounding villages in the scheme of things. We are already hearing that Cornwall and Plymouth are already making great strides to improve  public transport in their areas but at what kind of cost to the rural bus user. We need you to contact our Mp to insure that when the Buses Bill goes through parliament and councils devolve, that rural bus users are not forgotten about or overlooked in the bigger scheme of transport improvements to larger areas.

Councils in the driving seat: transport devolution explained

The government is devolving transport powers to English local authorities through the cities and local government devolution bill, which is working its way through parliament, and the forthcoming buses bill, which would give directly elected mayors the responsibility to run local buses.

What’s happening in Manchester?

The devolution agreement between central government and Greater Manchester outlines the powers to be transferred as the region moves towards having a directly elected mayor in 2017. New responsibilities include a devolved transport budget with a multi-year settlement, responsibility for franchised bus services, smart ticketing and potentially devolved rail stations across Greater Manchester.
This long-term commitment to funding is critical in the transport devolution debate, as it allows for more effective planning of projects like with those in London, says Greg Marsden, director of the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds. Transport for London (TfL) is able to increase its income through congestion charging and business rates supplements, allowing it to reinvest in projects such as Crossrail.

What about the rest of England?

Plans for Greater Manchester also form part of the northern powerhouse programme, which aims to close the north-south economic divide with investment in infrastructure, including major transport projects. The government asked councils to team up and put together bids for more power and it has received 38 proposals.
But David Cameron’s recent Yorkshire jibe may have been a fair summation of devolution squabbles. Although West Yorkshire has managed to reach an agreement, Leeds city region’s bid to take greater control of infrastructure has hit a wall as North Yorkshire refuses to transfer highway and transport powers for three of its districts.
Cornwall is so far the only county, and rural area, to be promised a devolution deal, with powers over franchising and improving local bus services.

Why devolve transport powers?

The government says the UK has a productivity problem – official figures place it at 17% below the average for G7 nations. Devolving transport powers is meant to address this: improved local transport should lead to a more mobile workforce, which should reduce the productivity gap between London and other regions.
“Making it easier for people – especially those on low incomes – to commute a further 20 minutes each way would put them within touch of two or more major employment sites, and potentially 10,000 more jobs,” says a recent report by the thinktank Policy Exchange.
Chancellor George Osborne hopes that by 2020 northern powerhouse projects will have generated 100,000 new jobs, raising the employment rate in the north-west to the UK average.

Could there be other motives?

Some critics argue that it’s just another method to deliver cuts without taking the flak. Others feel that it’s a route to more privatisation of services. Marsden considers devolution to be desirable, irrespective of potential cuts. “If the government is cutting resources in transport spending then they can do this with or without devolution, and local government would still suffer the impacts of that,” he says.
But James MacColl, head of campaigns at the Campaign for Better Transport, fears that much of the potential offered by devolution is being wasted. Despite two-thirds of public transport journeys being made by bus, funding for local buses has been slashed by 15% since 2010 and local authorities have been forced to cut 2,000 routes.
“It is no good ruining efforts to get local transport authorities together to produce a northern transport strategy by putting on hold billions of pounds of rail investment projects, failing to provide funds for local roads and buses, and wasting billions of pounds on damaging major road building schemes,” he says. “The government needs to get its act together to support local authorities, not mess with them.”

What do the unions say?

The Trades Union Congress is concerned that devolution may be used to cut national rail funding and break up Network Rail. It believes greater national and local accountability can best be achieved through a national integrated railway under public ownership, which is advocated by the new Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
The blueprint for the northern powerhouse claims that 40 major road schemes will create more than 2,000 jobs. But Mick Cash, president of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, says that 1,000 train guards will be made redundant once Rail North assumes joint control, with the Department for Transport of new northern and Trans-Pennine express franchises. “These are skilled quality rail jobs and their loss is hardly the right track to better passenger services or a northern powerhouse,” he says.

Will it deliver everything that’s promised?

Significant questions remain as to how carbon reduction targets will fit in with devolved transport powers, particularly around the lack of clarity on bus subsidies.
There are fears, as outlined in a report by the Smith Institute, that the very people who would have most to gain from focused investment in local transport infrastructure, such as those in rural or deprived areas, may lose out – devolution has so far has focused on cities that the government trusts to take on new powers.
Marsden also fears that the Department for Transport has not considered what devolution means for its future role. “It’s not like you can just have devolution where power goes to the regions and that’s it,” he says. “They’ve got to reimagine what their supporting role is.”
MacColl believes those using the services will best judge the success of devolution. “Ultimately, people will judge plans to move powers from Whitehall to local authorities on whether they really get the better local transport services they deserve,” he says.
Article in Guardian news paper

Buses Bill in the Queens speech

A Buses Bill, announced in this week’s Queen’s Speech, appears to have caught the industry by surprise with few anticipating a separate bill devoted to enabling the roll-out of bus franchising from the newly-elected Conservative majority government. The briefing notes issued alongside the Queen’s Speech state that the Buses Bill “would provide the option for combined authority areas with directly elected mayors to be responsible for the running of their local bus services,” adding that the main benefits would be “supporting a thriving local bus market with the passenger at its centre, allowing cities to promote an integrated transport system, supporting the growth and development of their areas.”
Although the focus of the Buses Bill is closely linked to the proposed Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill and chancellor George Osborne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’, the establishment of combined authorities is not necessarily restricted to major cities. A House of Commons library research document published earlier this year points to discussions already taking place about proposed combined authorities in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Tees Valley and Birmingham/Black Country, and Bristol mayor George Ferguson is urging councils in his region to work together to develop a proposal to take advantage of favourable government funding for combined authorities.
In response, First Bus has re-iterated its belief in partnerships, whilst pointing out that it is yet to see details of the proposed Bill. “We have seen success in our partnership approach with local authorities, which has delivered tangible benefits to passengers, and volume growth, which both operators and councils want to see,” says a First Bus spokesperson. “We have demonstrated that the current model works and that operators can grow markets in city regions, despite government cuts.  
"We believe partnerships have much more yet to deliver and can be formed to meet the objectives of cities as they look to buses to strongly support their agendas."
The Campaign for Better Transport has welcomed the proposed Buses Bill, although it is calling on the government to ensure that rural areas are not overlooked.
"London-style devolved transport powers could bring the same kinds of service improvements from which that city has benefited to long-neglected cities in the North of England and elsewhere,” says CBT chief executive Stephen Joseph. “However, it is important that transport devolution is not just confined to the big cities but spreads across the country bringing together a better, integrated transport network, crucially in rural areas."
Although the bus industry will need to engage positively with the process, it is unlikely to welcome the fact that a separate Buses Bill will inevitably lead to a phalanx of lobbyists seeking to use the opportunity to bolt-on their proposals to the legislation. Indeed the charity Guide Dogs has immediately cited the Buses Bill as a valuable opportunity for authorities to make sure all new buses are safe and accessible for people with sight loss. "Guide Dogs believes that audio visual technology is a crucial piece of equipment which must be included as part of all new buses,” says Guide Dogs campaigns manager James White. “We want everyone who experiences sight loss to be able to live their lives the way they choose, and feel confident, independent and supported in the world.  Talking Buses would not only help passengers with sight loss enjoy a confident and worry-free journey but would help tourists and people on business who were new to the area to know where they were on the bus journey. It's a simple step which benefits many, and would also support a thriving local bus market."
First UK Bus managing director Giles Fearnley admitted to Bus and Coach Professional that a separate Buses Bill was a surprise but that the “devil will be in the detail”. He speculated that the progress of the Bill may need to be quite rapid if it is to become law alongside the main devolution proposals and it might therefore be quite a brief document. He reiterated First’s belief in partnership agreements which he said could help deliver benefits to towns and cities “irrespective of the devolution debate”.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

More possible bus cuts to come?

Rumoured changes to First Bus services in Mendip, Bath and Wiltshire to take place from 24th April 2016. If true, they show what an urgent need there is to co-ordinate all services in the network whether they're commercial or supported.
We have heard changes are likely to be made to the 265 and 267 (info from several different reliable sources all confirming similar info).
More info to follow once confirmed at County level.