Bus route funding extended

 

Emergency County Council funding for a Wells to Burnham bus service is being extended until July so work on a community-funded replacement can continue.

Emergency funding for the 67 service has been in place since the collapse of Webberbus last year. It ends on 4 March but constructive discussions have been ongoing between parishes, local members and council officers to agree a replacement service that would be funded by the parish councils.

Proposals for this potential long-term replacement are taking shape but not finalised. The County Council has therefore agreed to fund a reduced replacement service from 7 March until 21 July.

The interim service starting on Monday, 7 March will be provided by Mendip Community Transport and another operator yet to be decided. Details including the timetable have yet to be finalised but will be available on the Council’s website in due course.

“Thanks to a lot of hard work from parish councils, local members and council officers a solution for a community-funded replacement is taking shape”, said Councillor David Fothergill, Cabinet member for Highways and Transport.

“But it’s complicated and there is still much to do to agree how the funding from the parishes will work. It’s important that we have the time to go through this and come up with something that everyone can agree on, and that is why we have put this temporary funding in place.

“I’m delighted by the way communities in Somerset are coming together to support a service that we are unfortunately not in position to step in and fund”.

The County Council currently spends £1.6m every year subsidising routes that are not commercially viable. 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.