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The Somerset Guardian, 22nd March 2023

On Friday, several constituents visited my surgery to discuss bus service cuts, in particular the number 82. 
I know that the 82 bus has been especially helpful for constituents who live in Midsomer Norton, Westfield and Radstock and shop at Tesco. I was told that it was Tesco that started this route and funded it the first five years via an S106 agreement, which relieved the Council of some economic burden. It has proved to be a well-used route and its removal is a huge blow to the elderly, vulnerable and car-less, and even more unpalatable in light of Bath’s transport links being improved.

Recently, I was made aware that the 672 service (another bus that goes to the airport) is being extended until the summer owing to the apparent generosity of the Liberal-Democrat run Council. What is not mentioned is that these funds originate from central government and have been given to local authorities for the purpose of paying for local transport. In the press release, Cllr. Richard Samuel, who has the Resources portfolio, also states that WECA is responsible for ‘contracting socially necessary bus services’. Both the Council and the Combined Authority need to stop trying to pass the buck between each other because this is not helping residents to resolve their transport woes, nor is it fulfilling their duties as transport providers.

If the 82 service were extended until the summer, I am assured that other means of funding might be found to keep it going. I hope that WECA and the Council hear the pleas of the bus users and in good conscience, reverse the decision and keep it running at least until then.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance:

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