MORE BUS FUNDING CUTS
The Somerset Guardian, 31st May 2023
Once again and with enormous regret, I find myself writing about the lamentable bus situation in and around North East Somerset.
This week, I have received a flurry of e-mails from worried constituents complaining that funding for the 94 bus route that services Freshford is to be rescinded.
The 94 bus is well used by locals, many of whom find it impossible to travel out of the village and if it is stopped they will be reliant upon erratic Westlink services with a change at Odd Down. If they can drive, they will be penalised for driving into Bath and Bristol owing to the recent implementation of the Clean Air Zone, something that continues to reinforce the economic inequality of big cities versus small towns and villages in the South West.
This bus cut is one of several that will have a detrimental effect upon those who rely on this transport to get them to the shops, the GP practice or other necessary places. Whilst B&NES and WECA continue to pass the buck back and forth the Mayor, Dan Norris, has announced one of the most ludicrous plans that I have heard for some time: that people will be able to travel for free on the buses for the whole month of their birthday.
This ‘brainwave’ is tantamount to a gimmick that serves the Mayor’s interests only and as far as I can predict it is impractical and in all probability untenable. Public transport should not be used as a pawn in politics or as an ingredient for legacy building, it should be there to assist people to get around in a timely and cost friendly way.
These buses are funded by taxpayers via central government and the money should be allocated accordingly to support the local transport infrastructure, not be removed, misspent and then replaced with hare brained schemes. The concern about this is real and both the Council and WECA need to get a grip.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance: firstname.lastname@example.org.