Vital bus links to be cut

PUBLISHED: 07:44 13 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:08 24 May 2010

MAJOR cuts have been announced to a vital rural bus service. The 791/794 service between Bath and Weston, which stops at Blagdon, Lower Langford, Churchill, Sandford, Banwell and Locking, operates

MAJOR cuts have been announced to a vital rural bus service.The 791/794 service between Bath and Weston, which stops at Blagdon, Lower Langford, Churchill, Sandford, Banwell and Locking, operates six days a week in summer and four days a week in winter.From May 28 the service will be slashed to one day a week, a Wednesday, all year round.The service is a crucial transport link for residents across North Somerset.In addition, the 672 service between Blagdon and Bristol will be cut back.At the moment there are six journeys both ways between Blagdon and Bristol, with seven on Saturday. Eurotaxis takes over the contract from First Bus on May 28th.From then there will be four journeys between Blagdon and Bristol from Monday to Saturday.On Sundays there are currently five buses between Blagdon and Bristol which will be cut to two in May.Two extra evening services into Bristol on Fridays have also been cut. Transport 2000 regional director David Regwell said: "John Prescott says people should get out of cars and onto public transport. These proposals directly oppose that view so I'm very angry."North Somerset councillor Chanel Stevens said: "The decision goes completely against the Government's policy of offering support to rural services."It is a short term policy to save money which irrevocably weakens a council's position in this area when asking the Government for more support."Funding for the services is provided by Bath and North East Somerset Council, North Somerset Council and Somerset County Council.BANES public transport leader James Willcock said: "Funding was provided by a grant from the Department of Transport which is coming to an end and there is no further funding from there."The challenge has been to find a way of continuing the service through BANES, North Somerset and Somerset County Council's resources."Part of the problem has been the costs of the bus industry continue to rise. There was extensive consultation with the public at the end of last year and I understand people's disappointment at the cuts. "But we've done well to continue the service at all and the services are now on a good footing for the future." A North Somerset Council spokesman said: "Both the services are administered by BANES but North Somerset did contribute with the funding for the Blagdon to Bristol route."There is going to be a slight reduction in the service but this won't be as big as we first thought.

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