Closure of First Travel Shop labelled ‘a real shame’ for Weston

PUBLISHED: 08:00 05 June 2015

First Travel Shop, High Street , Weston.

First Travel Shop, High Street , Weston.

Archant

WESTON High Street has one more empty shop due to the closure of First’s Travel Centre.

The building, just metres away from the boarded-up TJ Hughes store, is the latest in the town to be closed, leading some residents to say Weston-super-Mare is becoming a ‘ghost town’.

First West of England made the decision to close the store due to declining customers which meant it was ‘no longer sustainable’.

In a discussion on the Mercury’s Facebook page some described the closure as a ‘real shame’.

Debbie Cannon said: “Weston is becoming a ghost town.

“Another shop boarded up, it looks terrible and does not encourage new business to the town.”

But the bus company has said it remains ‘committed’ to Weston and the closure of its travel shop will not have any impact on its services in the town but is has had to ‘move with the times’.

The company’s managing director James Freeman said: “The fact is that increasing numbers of customers are now purchasing tickets on the bus or using ‘mTicketing’.

“This has resulted in a drop in customers using the travel shop to a level that is no longer sustainable.”

In the online discussion Mercury readers praised the store’s staff but said the decision could put ‘more pressure’ on drivers.

Jane Lynn said: “Gutted. I did use it.

“Sorry for the staff too, (they were) always helpful.”

Sian Cunday said: “It is a real shame as it was always easier buying tickets there rather than one in Bristol.”

But Mr Freeman said the company will retain a ‘strong presence’ in Weston.

He said: “We have been very grateful to our staff who have provided an excellent service at our High Street travel office, but we have to move with the times.

“As I recently told our staff at our Weston depot, we are committed to retaining a strong presence in Weston and customers can seek assistance from drivers, inspectors, etc, who will always be happy to help them in any way they can.

“Likewise our customers will still be able to buy their tickets on the bus.”

Daily, weekly and monthly tickets can also be purchased via the company’s mobile ticketing app ‘mTicketing’.

For more information on the store’s closure and available ticketing options visit www.firstgroup.com/weston

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