'We're forgotten about' - bus passengers in North East Somerset slam cuts as 'absolutely ridiculous'

Bus passengers in rural parts of North East Somerset fear they'll be left isolated and abandoned when more than 40 bus services are cut across the region in April.

Campaigners hope more funding can be found to subsidise services such as the number 82, which runs five times a day, Monday to Friday in and around Paulton.

One person who regularly uses the bus said: "I'd like to know why people in offices think they have the right to stop our bus and deny us the privilege of keeping our pride and the privilege and independence."

Another passenger added: "We need this bus to keep going and keep surviving. I grew up round here and there's a lot of disabled people around Paulton and there are a lot of villages that are forgotten about, and if they take this bus away people are going to be doomed."

The No 82 bus Credit: ITV West Country

Bus driver Tom Churchill, who sees around 200 people using the service every day, knows most his passengers by name.

He said: "I've put a lot of effort into building this service over the past 18 months and I like the fact I can provide a service for my passengers and a lot of them really rely on it. But this area has been totally neglected."

Bath and North East Somerset Council has decided to stop subsidising many buses in rural areas from April blaming an increase in costs and saying the money can only go so far.

Councillor Sarah Warren, Lib Dem, who is the lead for sustainable transport, said: "We've increased our budget for supported bus services by 36% and we don't have any new additional money.

"The quotes for the Bath and North East Somerset bus services came in three times as expensive as before and we don't have any new additional money to spend."

Another passenger who has joined calls for the number 82 bus to be saved said: "It's absolutely ridiculous that they're even considering getting rid of it as it's a well-used bus."

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