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Vital bus link is saved
5:00pm Thursday 21st March 2013 in News
AN important bus service in South Somerset has been saved – thanks to further funding from Somerset County Council.
Some £20,000 from the county council’s 2013 public transport budget has been given to South West Coaches so it can continue to provide the Number 81 service from Yeovil to South Petherton.
The operator was going to reduce this service and alter the route so that it no longer served Norton-sub-Hamdon or South Petherton Hospital after council funding of £35,000 was due to run out later this month.
But an agreement has now been reached so that the bus service, which runs hourly during the daytime from Monday to Saturday, can continue.
The council’s transport and highways spokesman, Cllr Harvey Siggs, said: “I am really pleased that we have been able to provide the money needed from our transport budget which will save this popular service. “The funding for this route was due to end in March as it was envisaged the service would be commercially viable by this time. However, this has not proved possible.
“Thankfully, due to further efficiencies in public transport, £20,000 can now be used from this budget to help fund the service for a further year. “The message I would like to get across to the public is that they need to use the service or risk losing it next year.”
Alan Graham, managing director of Yeovil-based South West Coaches, said: “I am really pleased we have managed to come to an agreement to keep the service running. “I am in the process of visiting parish councils to inform them of this valuable service with the hope of attracting more users to ensure its continuation well into the future.”
The leader of South Somerset District Council, Cllr Ric Pallister, said earlier this month that the possible loss of the Number 81 service could have had a detrimental effect on patients at South Petherton Hospital and their relatives who relied on public transport to make visits.