“Please take a look at different ways of supporting rural transport.” That sums up the plea from Timsbury Parish Council in response to B&NES review of local bus subsidies.“This consultation should be extended to find more effective ways of providing and promoting rural transport across the B&NES area on a long-term basis” says the Parish Council in response to the request for local views.“The history of bus services in this area is one of fewer services, poor reliability and inefficient organisation with timetable changes at short notice. The proposed withdrawal of support for the 179 and 768 bus services will make things worse, but retaining it will not provide a decent answer to the problems” the response continues.“Elderly and vulnerable residents are isolated and lonely. Workers find it difficult to get in and out of this large village. Businesses find it difficult or impossible to recruit and retain lower-paid staff and jobs have been lost when bus services are changed or withdrawn. Unhelpful timetables and doubts about reliability have resulted in low confidence in and a reluctance to use the bus, causing dependence on cars resulting in more traffic into towns.”The Parish Council suggests that wider consultation by B&NES Council and the new West of England Combined Authority should consider:• A wider range of travel options such as shared taxi systems, community transport and car share schemes, all linked up.• An urgent start to using the new powers provided by the Bus Act 2017 to provide what communities need, not the bus companies.• Improved timetables and better publicity for bus and other services both on paper and online.• A long-term commitment to reliable integrated rural transport services that will give residents the confidence to use them.
Here is some background information about the issue nationally: