Bus service cuts hit tourism

PUBLISHED: 13:00 13 May 2011

Archant

CUTS in bus services to Cheddar Caves and Gorge are affecting staff and villagers more than tourists.

According to Bob Smart, the attraction’s marketing manager, this is because the funding withdrawal has affected evening bus services rather than weekend timetables.

MPs at a recent Commons Transport Committee were told in the final evidence session of an inquiry into bus services following cuts by the coalition government that the economy has been hit hard – with Cheddar Caves and Gorge given as an example.

Bob told the Mercury: “I know that the economics of bus travel are very complicated, but at a time when we’re all being told to make less use of private cars, it’s a shame that public transport is being cut back.

“The cut in evening buses affects local residents, including our own staff, more than our visitors. The cut in weekend services would have more of an effect.

“It’s actually visitors from overseas who rely most on public transport, and some ring us up from London, confident that they can plan a busy week in Somerset traveling around by bus.

“The Somerset Tourism Association, in conjunction with First Bus and First Rail, is working up some packages designed to help visitors, and the Cheddar Caves open-top service here in Cheddar Gorge, which receives no public subsidy, is not affected.”

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