Somerset

Somerset County Council bus service consultation extended

Somerset County Council
Image caption The council has said the bus subsidy needs to be reduced as a result of government spending cuts to its budget

The consultation period over plans to reduce the bus subsidy to 24 routes in Somerset has been extended.

If approved, Somerset County Council will stop 13 Saturday services and scrap eight routes.

Bus campaigner, Susan Jessop from Evercreech said: "It's going to be absolutely disastrous if they take our buses away."

The consultation was due to end on Monday but this will now run until 4 January, the council has said.

The council subsidises 81 bus routes across the county - some wholly, others partially - which are deemed to be commercially unviable.

It is proposing to reduce its funding for services where there are: alternative services, low passenger numbers, tourist-specific routes or commercial alternatives.

A petition has been started in Evercreech to keep the 161 Saturday service between Wells and Shepton Mallet.

Mrs Jessop added: "A lot of buses have been taken away from some of the villages and it's just isolating people. The youngsters use it for the cinema and ten-pin bowling and so on.

"They encourage us to use the buses, which a lot of people are, even if they do drive. If they get rid of the buses, we'll never get them back again."

The local authority has said some areas would be offered a demand responsive bus service.

The reduced bus services are being proposed as a result of government spending cuts to the council's budget, the authority added.

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