Community Bus Service to hospital for Liden, Covingham and Coleview
On Thursday 24th March, West Berkshire Council voted to reduce bus subsidies by £780,000 as part of a £16m package of £16m budget cuts. The Service 90 from Lambourn to Swindon is one of these affected by these cuts and will likely end in three months time. Three months is the the length of time required from when the national Traffic Commissioner is notified of changes before they can happen.
Knowing these bus cuts were being consulted on by West Berkshire, Gary Sumner, Chairman of Wanborough Parish Council, Ian Thompson Chairman of Bishopstone Parish, Gordon Wilson Chairman of Liddington Parish, and Cllr Dale Heenan, Cabinet member for Transport for Swindon Borough Council, met to discuss the issue and have come up with a plan to keep a bus service running for the rural villages around Swindon and support local residents affected by ending of the Thamesdown Transport 20 bus service in 2015.
A community bus service to run through through villages of Bishopshone, Liddington and Wanborough, stop at the Hospital and continue through Eldene, Liden, Covingham, Coleview, South Marston and Sainburys in Stratton before returning.
Cllr Dale Heenan, “In Swindon 95% of our bus services are run commercially with 5% subsidized by the Council, but in West Berkshire it is a very different story with 20 out of 30 bus routes receiving Council money to keep them running. Service 90 has been cut by West Berkshire but we were already working on a plan b.
Our community bus service idea will allow people to shop, visit the hospital and connect with the existing frequent bus services so they can get to college and work, and therefore carry enough passengers to keep a bus service in our rural areas. Our idea also has the added advantage of addressing the problem created for local residents when the Service 20 bus was cut because it was losing £200,000 a year and the money ran out.
Swindon Borough Council is supportive of the principle, talks with West Berkshire have started, Mr Sumner is giving a strong voice for the villages and is working hard with the local parishes and we should know more detail in the next couple of weeks. I am very hopeful that with resident, parish and SBC support we can get this community bus service running this summer.”
Any residents wishing to know about the proposal or comment on the route can contact Cllr Dale Heenan on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07792755227