Temporary funding for the 67 bus service has been extended to allow more time to explore potential community-led replacements.
The route links Wookey Hole/Wells to Burnham-on-Sea and emergency funding from Somerset County Council has been in place since the end of May when since its operator, Webberbus, ceased trading at short notice.
This funding was due to end on 31 December but will be extended until 4 March. This is to allow continued talks between the County Council, parishes and communities about possible options for some form of replacement service. From 3 January, 2017 the service will continue be provided by Bakers Dolphin.
“The response from the community has been considerable and we welcome that,” said Councillor David Fothergill, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport.
“We are extending the emergency funding to see if talks can be turned into tangible, community-driven options for a replacement service of some kind.
“There are still no commercial operators willing to take on the service and we cannot continue to pay these additional costs in the long-term. However, we want to make sure there is time to properly explore any options that might to some extent fill the gap”.
The County Council spends around £1.6m subsidising bus services across the county. It also funds the Slinky service and financially supports demand responsive Community Transport schemes by covering half the cost of fares for journeys made using concessionary bus passes.