Chippenham and Malmesbury villages and pupils isolated in bus cuts
Updated 12:44pm Friday 21st March 2014 in By Victoria Latchman
Changes to Wiltshire Council bus services through Chippenham and Malmesbury are due to come into effect at the end of March, after months of consultations.
But the revised timetable has come as a shock for passengers who rely on public transport for school runs, shopping and to get to work, particularly for those who were unaware of the consultations last year.
Among affected services are the 35 Castle Combe to Corsham, the 91 Malmesbury to Chippenham bus through villages, and 99 Monkton Park to Chippenham.
Mother-of-three Leanne Woodford, 34, said two of her children would now have to get a taxi to and from Malmesbury Primary School after their bus via Charlton was withdrawn.
“My nine-year-old and 11-year-old children can no longer get their 8.25am bus to school. It will be going to Cross Hayes and then they are expected to get a taxi from there,” she said.
“We moved to Charlton and my little boy was told he has to go to school in Lea, so I can’t be in Lea and Malmesbury at the same time.
“No one informed me about this and it was actually the bus driver who told my daughters. The changes mean that the first bus leaves at 11.13am now.
“It doesn’t go through Lea, either, now and there’s a teacher at my son’s pre-school who’s not going to be able to get there by bus in the mornings.”
Andy Bus in Malmesbury lost the tender for the Malmesbury service in favour of Coach Style in Chippenham.
Proposed changes to services is expected to save Wiltshire Council £115,000 a year.
Jennie Waldron, of Great Somerford, was baffled that the changes meant she could easily get to Swindon to shop, but not to her local town, Malmesbury. She will stop shopping locally because of the lack of parking.
“There’s one lady who lives opposite me who says she does not know what she is going to do because, she can’t get into Malmesbury because she does not drive,” said Mrs Waldron, an assistant manager for the Sue Ryder charity shop.
“My husband usually drops me off and I get the 5.25pm bus home, but now I am going to have to drive in and get caught in all the traffic that’s in Malmesbury.
“Someone said I should just park around the streets, but I don’t do that. I will have to park in the long-stay car park.”
Changes can be seen at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/council/consultations/ consultationbusroutes.htm
A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “We have to save money by reducing some services which are not well used. We have done everything we can to reduce the impact on people by accommodating as many suggestions as possible.”
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