County Council steps in on bus routes

Somerset County Council is stepping in to make sure dozens of important bus routes are covered after one of its key operators informed it that it will cease to operate.

Wherever possible the authority is arranging for other bus companies to take on the routes provided by Bridgwater-based Webberbus Ltd which informed the Council today that it will cease to operate from tomorrow morning (13 May) due to financial difficulties.

Affected services include those serving six schools, four colleges and more than a dozen public routes. Council staff are working flat-out to make the alternative arrangements and are confident that all services taking students to schools and colleges will be covered by replacement services from tomorrow morning.

From tomorrow there should also be cover for the public routes where there are no other reasonable alternatives. On routes already covered by other operators, they will be doing their best to fill the gaps.

Bus users can find out more about replacement services on the Council website newsroom.

We have received reports of some disruption to services this afternoon (12 May). Our team is working very hard to confirm these reports and if necessary will put alternative arrangements in place to get school children home as quickly as possible.

Affected schools and colleges are being contacted, and parents of students sent texts informing them of the new arrangements, where they have opted into the text alerts.

“We put our contingency plans into action immediately and are doing everything we can to keep disruption to an absolute minimum in what is a very difficult situation,” said Cllr David Fothergill, Cabinet member for Highways.

“Webberbus is by some distance the second largest operator in the county and organising replacement services at very short notice is a significant task.

“Thanks to the hard work of staff and flexibility of other providers, we’re getting there.”