First buses give second rate service

PUBLISHED: 13:16 10 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:42 24 May 2010

NORTH Somerset's bus services have come under fire from village residents and councillors. Travellers commuting to places on the outskirts of Weston are getting increasingly frustrated at the services they get from First, the company in charge of running

NORTH Somerset's bus services have come under fire from village residents and councillors. Travellers commuting to places on the outskirts of Weston are getting increasingly frustrated at the services they get from First, the company in charge of running the buses in the area.St Georges parish councillor John Warren spoke at a North Somerset full council meeting and asked for support in putting pressure on First to reinstate a vital bus route in their village. Cllr Warren said: "Five years ago, when our residents were being persuaded to welcome new development, we were promised an extension to our local bus service by routing it further down Willow Close and around the new estate to serve the extra 200 houses being constructed."Instead the service has been withdrawn and re-routed elsewhere." The week before Cllr Warren's speech, ward councillor Ann Harley presented a petition with over 100 signatures objecting to the cuts.North Somerset councillor Mike Bell wants the bus industry to be re-regulated to improve local transport and tackle 'fat cat bus bosses.'He said: "Companies like First have near monopolies with as much as 95 per cent of the bus network in this area in its hands. It puts fares up, changes routes and withdraws services without what appears to be the slightest concern for the effect on customers."The Government should act to re-regulate the bus industry and give local authorities the power to intervene and get things done."First Somerset and Avon's operations director, Jenny MacLeod, said: "We closely monitor the levels of customers using our services before we make any changes. To successfully maintain our business we must constantly seek to provide services that best serve the community. "Service 13 through St Georges is a commercial service and we were unable to sustain the old route due to the minimal numbers of passengers. There was an increasing demand for a service through the Pastures Way housing estate so Service 13 was redirected to best serve the area as a whole.

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