Sunday bus route to be cancelled by First Group

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 September 2018

First's changes will come into force on this month.

First's changes will come into force on this month.

Archant

Concerns are mounting in villages which are set to lose an important Sunday bus service.

First Bus Group has announced the Sunday service of the 126 bus will no longer run through the winter months as the service is nor ‘financially sustainable’.

The service, which will stop running on a Sunday this month, connects Weston to Wells and makes stops in Banwell, Winscombe, Axbridge and Cheddar.

A First Group spokesman said: “The service operates on a purely commercial basis, meaning it is entirely paid for by the fares taken on the bus.

“Unfortunately in the winter months on a Sunday service 126 does not collect enough money to make the service financially sustainable.

“Therefore we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw the Sunday winter service to ensure the rest of the service is financial viable through the quieter winter months.”

The business has said the demand for the Sunday service is ‘low’ and is no longer a ‘viable option’.

However residents feel the loss of the service will ‘cut-off’ the rural villages which already suffer from poor carriageway links.

Banwell resident Romany Poppitt-Price wrote to the Mercury to say: “Not everyone has access to a car and those of us who work on a Sunday will have no public transport.

“The only information to be found about the withdrawal of this bus was a paper notice attached to the bus shelter and that did not last long once the rain started.”

Weston resident Geoff Malham agreed that Romany was ‘rightly concerned’ about the route.

He added: “Not only will Banwell be affected but also Axbridge, Cheddar, Wookey Hole and other localities along the route.

“First Bus has named the route the Mendip Explorer but now it will be impossible to explore the Mendips, on a day when families are not at work or school.

“Weston will also suffer because nobody will be able to use the bus into town. Both the bus company and North Somerset Council should really get to grips with the problems and come up with a strategy which puts the public first.”

First Group has said if funding was to become available from the council it would investigate re-introducing the service.

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