Last bus due on First bus routes
First bus company has decided to make significant changes to many services including the withdrawal of some routes which are no longer commercially viable.
The cuts will take effect on two dates; some routes will be changed or withdrawn from 2 August, while the remainder will change from 23 August.
The routes that are significantly affected in South West Wiltshire are:
Changes from 2 August
Service 234 (Chippenham - Melksham - Trowbridge - Frome) - will be completely withdrawn
Service T1 (Trowbridge town service; circular route Hilperton - Town Centre - Studley Green - College Road) - will be completely withdrawn
Changes from 23 August
Service 265 (Bath - Trowbridge - Warminster - Salisbury) - will continue to operate at the same frequency, but the route in Winsley village will be simplified so that all buses go via Tynings Road, leaving the section of Winsley Road past Cottles Lane and Ashley Lane unserved.
Wiltshire Council say they can't step in to keep the services going by subsidising them. They point out that, "There are ... alternative services that could be used by passengers in most cases, albeit not as convenient."
The alternatives that will be available are:
Service 234 - most of the route parallels a competing service (X34) run by Faresaver, which runs every 30 minutes in the daytime on Monday - Friday but with no Saturday service. Faresaver has agreed to add a commercial Saturday service (running every hour, as the current 234) and to cover some additional journeys at times currently provided by First. There will however be no replacement for the evening service.
Service T1 -the Hilperton end of the route is also covered by Faresaver's X34, which will divert alternate journeys (hourly, Mon - Fri only) to serve St Thomas' Road and Victoria Road. There will be no replacement for the Studley Green / College Road / Silver Street Lane part of the service, although passengers can walk to Frome Road or Bradley Road where there will still be buses every 30 minutes on services X34 and 265 respectively. There will be no replacement for the evening service around Studley Green, and St Thomas's Road and Victoria Road will no longer have a Saturday daytime bus service.
Service 265 - First Bus made a similar change to the route in Winsley in 2014, but subsequently reversed it following opposition from residents. The Parish Council has written to First asking it to reconsider its decision.