Bus services in Taunton, Bridgwater and Weston-super-Mare face cutbacks from July. Operator First Bus is removing several routes which it says are 'underperforming'. Up to 12 people face redundancy at the Bridgwater bus depot.
The changes from July 28 are: Taunton route 92 cut; increased frequency on route 22. Bridgwater - Town Services 1, 2, and 3 cut; Weston - routes 1 and 14 cut. The news comes just days after parent company First Group saw its share price fall 30 per cent.
I am delighted that First Bus are reintroducing their popular short-hop £1 fare. I hope this bodes well for future announcements about their fare structure following the consultation exercise underway, as I will do anything I can to help make public transport more affordable. The consultation is open until the end of June, and I urge everyone in their city to have their say."
We reluctantly abolished the ‘3 Stop Hop’ ticket in April 2012 after we had encountered serious problems with people travelling fraudulently – staying on the bus for a lot more than three stops for their £1 fare. However, it became clear during our recent fare consultation events that people are really keen to see it restored. We’ve heard this message and so we’re bringing back the ‘3 Stop Hop’ as a temporary measure until we know the full outcome of our current fare consultation. However, we shall also be taking extra steps to ensure that the ticket is not abused.”
– Marc Reddy, Director, First South West and Wales
More than one 150 angry bus users in Weymouth packed a meeting last night to argue about proposed changes to bus routes in South Dorset.
First Bus plans to stop routes 5, 5A and 4B from March 24. But local residents said the move would leave many elderly and infirm people isolated in their own homes. The bus operator blames tough economic times on the decision.
It also says that the money the company receives from the concessionary fare scheme is less than forty per cent of the actual journey price. Fuel rebate has also been reduced so it's been left with no option unless Dorset County Council steps in to subsidise these routes.
The meeting was called by South Dorset MP Richard Drax who had been contacted by many of his constituents unhappy with the decision to axe routes.
Commuters and local politicians will be voicing their concerns over the rise in bus fares at peaceful demonstration later [Saturday]. It will be held outside Bristol Bus station and start at 12:00pm.
It comes after First bus service announced they will be holding a consultation and review of their fares.
It has been organised by Daniel Farr a concerned bus user who started the Make Fares Fair campaign by setting up an e-petition on the direct.gov.uk website that has now collected over 2,840 signatures.