SCC Bus Advisory Board
Friday, 2nd December, 2022 10.00 am
- Meeting of Bus Advisory Board, Friday 2nd December 2022 10.00 am (Item 68.)
To receive any updates from Operators.
Adam Hawksworth of Buses of Somerset presented their proposed changes on routes 29, 54, 55, 75 and 77, for which there would be short notice, and requested feedback on them. He noted that there was a network review in June, which revealed concerns over Somerton and the Taunton-Yeovil services. Buses of Somerset had been able to re-work everything in those areas and had tried to address as many concerns as possible, but it was necessary to keep changes to a minimum.
· #29 – There will be one change in the morning where the service does not go up Windmill Hill, but that will be replaced by the #75, and the morning journey that starts at Creech will now start at Glastonbury. Also, the last bus of the day from Strode will run just a few minutes later.
· #54 – This route involves the main change; it is proposed to reinstate the direct Taunton-Yeovil service running every two hours, and also to divert in Yeovil to Stiby Road and Larkhill Road. This will fill the gap left by the #53 being taken out. There will be a 16:40 service which suits college students, then one at 18:40 which is a bit late but will assist with Ilchester and Somerton travellers.
· #55 – This no longer goes to Taunton; it will operate only between Wrantage, Langport and Strode and will run on college days only.
· #75 – There has been one change only, with the morning journey to Windmill Hill running five minutes earlier.
· #77 – Changes have been made to the evening service, moving it from 18:10 to 18:40, and it will have connections to Wells; in the morning the route will start in Street but will connect to the #29 from Glastonbury.
The Chair invited feedback; John Perrett, ,stated that on the whole it’s an improvement on the network, especially the through journeys, and the re-routing in Yeovil also resolves concerns that were expressed when the #53 was withdrawn. He welcomed the changes and hoped they could be made as soon as possible in order to link them to the introduction of the evening services in Taunton.
David Redgewell, representing the Campaign for Better Transport, said that this is the reason they had met in London with Janet Bell, the CEO of First Buses, because people in Yeovil were so angry, and he is very grateful for the work done for the South West with respect to the many concerns expressed by Yeovil residents and NHS workers. There is a need to ensure that First South West and First West of England are joining up fares between Wells, Glastonbury, and Street and making sure that there is good connectivity between those towns with Musgrove Park, Taunton, Bridgwater, and Yeovil. Connectivity from Wells to Bath and Shepton Mallet and across Mendip is also important. It is necessary that Doug Claringbold of First West of England and Simon Goff of Buses of Somerset discuss these matters.
Tony Reese, Vice Chair of the Bus Users and Stakeholders Group, opined that the changes were good news, although it was unfortunate that the Taunton-Yeovil services was only every two hours; it’s helps bridge the gap but needs improvement. The relationship with bus users is damaged when we make changes to timetables and cancellations, especially with very short notice; we may be able to produce a timetable in January, but we may need to make further changes in March. The Chair stated that it was necessary to accept that we were in a unique historical situation requiring changes, and these changes are for the better.
In response to a question about the #54, Adam Hawksworth clarified that the #77 will be running hourly and the #54 sits between the #77 services, so within every two-hour period there will only be a 30-minute gap, which will benefit Ilchester and Somerton.
John Perrett said they will work to make the changes as soon as possible. He noted with respect to South West Coaches that changes to the timetable had been shared, with the #81 service being maintained by running the most heavily used journeys and using one bus instead of two. Also, the X11 service between Yeovil and Dorchester will be maintained but will now be registered as the #5, and that will start next Monday. Peter Fairey confirmed that all else is the same as before.