Council steps in to save crucial bus services

Somerset County Council is funding vital replacement services on two key routes in the county due to be withdrawn by the operator.

First West of England announced in the summer it was discontinuing the 126 service from Wells to Weston-super-Mare and evening services on Monday to Friday on the D2 between Bath and Frome from next month as part of a package of changes prompted by low patronage.

The Council can now confirm that from 10 October a new operator, Libra Travel, will be continuing to provide the Somerset County Council leg of the 126 service between Wells and Axbridge and also serving the Blue School at Wells during term time. It is also funding evening weekday D2 journeys at 8.10pm and 10.10pm from Frome to Bath and 9.10pm and 11.10pm from Bath to Frome. First West of England is continuing to provide daytime, Saturday evening and Sunday journeys on the D2.

Both services are a lifeline for local communities – the 126 connects Wells to Cheddar, Axbridge, and other outlying villages, while the D2 evening service is vital for those studying or working unsocial hours in Bath.

Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Transport and Digital Cllr Mike Rigby said: “We’re delighted we’ve been able to step in and keep these lifeline services running.
“We know how important they are to local people and since the announcement that they were going to be withdrawn our team has been working really hard to find a solution to keep some of the routes running.
“We’ll continue to do all we can but we can’t stress enough that people need to support their services to ensure they are maintained.
“In March Government funding runs out again and many of these services will be under threat – we’re working hard to ensure they continue but we need people to use them.”

Somerset County Council and the Somerset Bus Partnership have launched a campaign to get more people onto buses – read more about how you could save money here

In recent months a number of services have been withdrawn in the county by operators and Somerset County Council has stepped in to save as many as it can, including the 3 service Bishops Hull to Taunton, 30 Frome Town Service and the 68 Yeovil to Barwick and Stoford.
The cost is high to maintain services with funds coming from the Bus Recovery Grant from the Government which has been extended to March 2023.
For updates on traffic and travel follow @travelsomerset on Twitter and Facebook.

Submitted by Communications