Villagers' anger at loss of North Bradley bus service
9:15am Friday 17th January 2014 in By Craig Jones
Bus users in North Bradley are angry at operator First UK’s decision to stop a service through the village which they feel is essential.
From February 2, the 264 service, between Bath and Warminster, will no longer run at all while the 265 service, between Bath and Salisbury, will now divert to the White Horse Business Park instead of picking up passengers in North Bradley.
This has left residents frustrated at having to walk around half a mile to nearest bus stop on the route, in Bradley Road, near the Spitfire Retail Park.
Pat Clarkson, 71, of Church Lane, said: “I just don’t understand why they have moved it to the business park as people there are in their offices all day and will not be using the service anyway - it just doesn’t make sense.
“Now we are left with villagers, many of whom are elderly, having to walk a long distance to get the bus. This will particularly be a problem in the winter with the cold and rain.”
The change to the service will affect villager John Woodham who is blind and uses First’s current services to get home after using Westbury Swimming Pool.
Mr Woodham, who has a guide dog called Jenna, said: “I’ll probably end up getting off at Yarnbrook now and walk back which would mean I’d have to retrain Jenna. I’ve been going to that pool for 20 years and I’d hate to give it up.”
Residents have written to First asking for them not to remove their village services but they’ve yet to receive a reply.
Simon Ford, First in West of England’s commercial manager, said that the February changes to south west routes are being introduced to cope with traveller demand.
He said: “We understand changes can occasionally cause local concern. It is only right that where our services are not well used that we review this, taking steps to use our buses elsewhere, where they are needed most and where they’ll benefit the greatest number of people.”
The alterations will see services in Winsley improve but North Bradley Parish Council don’t want to see their village go without.
Roger Evans, parish council chairman, said: “I think it is disgusting that they would take the village’s service away. We know that not loads of people use the bus but for the people that do it is essential and they are cutting the village off.”
When First’s changes come into force the only remaining bus service through North Bradley will be the 67 route, run by Frome Minibuses and Wiltshire Council, which does a loop of Trowbridge.
A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said: “Following First's decision, we are in discussion with the operator of the other bus route that serves the village to see if they can provide some additional journeys.”
First’s new timetables will be available from January 21 on www.firstgroup.com/bristol.
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