Bus service cuts could be 'awful' warns town councillor
PUBLISHED: 09:00 18 December 2010
A BURNHAM town councillor has said that the area's bus services are under threat from cuts that could have an 'awful' effect on the region's tourism industry.
Councillor Chris Williams believes that several services will see large reductions or be cut completely when cuts are announced by Somerset County Council in April next year.
Cllr Williams spelt out his initial concerns at a meeting of Burnham’s Town Council on Monday, after the county council had sent them a letter asking for recommendations on how to preserve services.
The council will be looking at making 46 per cent cuts on its bus services over three years, cuts which Cllr Williams believes could leave many people who use the services stranded.
He said: “Potentially if the cuts go in on the services, the 102 service, which goes from Puriton to Burnham and then Weston, and the 113 shuttle which goes around Burnham, are both subsidised, and would be completely scrapped.
“The 112 service, which goes from Highbridge to Burnham and Weston would not be likely to have any buses running after 6.20pm.
“If you have to catch the bus from Burnham to do your late shift at Weston hospital for example, you could be stuck. If you an elderly person trying to get somewhere, you could also be stuck.”
And as well as residents, Cllr Williams believes the cuts would also hit the area’s lucrative holiday business.
“The 670 service, which goes from Burnham to Wookie Hole and then Wells, will probably be seriously affected, and this will mean lots of people who come down to stay at the seaside resorts like Brean Down won’t be able to take a trip to those sights.
“As well as the fact that the other services which run to and from the holiday parks taking holidaymakers to Burnham or Weston, it would have an awful effect on the summer season.
“£2million must come out of bus subsidies, so cuts have to be made. But the council and the holiday resorts could work together to provide a bus service, or the remaining town services could be re-jigged to zigzag around to reach more people.”
John Perrett, the county council’s operations manager for public transport, said: “Nothing has been decided yet. We will have to make large cuts, and some details will be coming out fairly soon as we will be announcing any cuts by April, and we will have to let contractors know too.”