Wanborough students affected by bus change
TEENAGERS living in two villages may have the council paying their taxi fares to travel to and from college if planned changes to a bus service go ahead.
From October 23 or 24, the 47 bus service, which serves Wanborough and Bishopstone, is being taken over by a joint project between West Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Swindon Council.
But the bus will only have a 16 person capacity, it will not run on Saturdays and it will no longer serve lower Wanborough.
Wanborough Parish Council chairman Gary Sumner said around 25 students use the service to get to college, and they could be left without any means of getting there.
“Swindon Council were keen not to offer any guarantees, but did say that everybody will get to college or work and home again in the evening,” he said.
“This might involve taxis in the early days. Despite this, they said that running two buses would be uneconomic.”
Swindon Council’s cabinet member for transport, Keith Williams, said there were a range of options which the council have been looking at, including paying students’ cab fares.
Coun Williams said: “We have also discussed redirecting other school buses to include Wan-borough.
“We are looking at a range of provisions that we can put in place during the peak times.
“This service was costing us tens of thousands of pounds in subsidies. The majority of people during the day will still have relatively the same service.”
Two weeks ago cabinet members agreed to defer its decision on whether funding for the council-subsidised 47 bus, should be scrapped after a huge outcry from the public.
The authority needs to make savings of around £200,000 from its budget for local buses by 2014.
Leaders from Wanborough and Bishopstone parish councils met Swindon Council’s leader David Renard and Coun Williams on Friday to discuss the proposals.
“There was no disagreement that this closure is contrary to other policies to support the rural areas and it was acknowledged, without apology, that there had been no consultation,” said Coun Sumner.
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