Amos fighting to save bus routes

8 Feb 2024
Gideon bus

Gideon Amos, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Taunton and Wellington has vowed to help save four threatened bus routes in the county.

Buses of Somerset has said that routes 25, 28, 54 and 58 could cease to run without funding support from Somerset Council.

Under threat are:

  • Route 25: Taunton – Dulverton via Wiveliscombe, Cotford St Luke, Milverton.
  • Route 28: Taunton - Minehead via Bishops Lydeard, Williton, Watchet.
  • Route 54: Taunton - Yeovil via Langport, Somerton.
  • Route 58: Yeovil – Wincanton.

Mr Amos said: “I’ve spoken with our LibDem team on Somerset Council.

“We are now working to save as many routes as we can from BoS cuts.

“The Conservatives should never have privatised our buses in the first place!

FULL STATEMENT FROM BUSES OF SOMERSET

“We’re currently reviewing our entire network in Somerset, which we do twice a year in line with our Enhanced Partnership agreement with Somerset Council.

“Throughout this period, we’re working closely with Somerset Council, local councillors, and bus user groups on our plans for bus services.

“At the Bus Advisory Board meeting with Somerset Council, we were asked to outline what our network could look like from April 2024 if the current funding we receive to support services 25, 28, 54 and 58 were to be withdrawn.

“It is important to note that no final decisions have been made yet on any of the four routes.

 “Last July, Somerset Council agreed on a funding package that helped to bridge the gap between the operational costs and the revenue, and since then, this has allowed the four routes to remain as they are today.  In that period, we’ve seen passenger growth but unfortunately, not to the extent that would negate the ongoing need for financial support.

“Somerset Council has been out to public consultation regarding their budget for 2024/25, and we have made it clear that ongoing funding is required to protect these bus routes.

“We understand the social value that these routes provide and the great job that our people do every day to keep people moving.  Reducing or withdrawing routes is the last thing we want to do, but without ongoing support, this could be an outcome.

“The effect the pandemic has had on services, as well as rising costs due to inflationary pressures, has meant we have had to reassess all of our bus networks and can no longer operate bus services that are not at least covering the costs of operations.

“We remain committed to working with Somerset Council to find a solution and will meet again over the coming days. We understand how important these services are to people.  A further update will be provided once we have clarity over the future of funding for these routes.”