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Somerset bus users gather to oppose proposed cuts

A group of campaigners holding a banner and placards
Protesters say the cuts will be particularly hard on people who rely on buses to get to work

A protest has taken place against proposed cuts to bus services in Somerset.

About 100 people marched through Yeovil to protest against proposed cuts to routes 25, 28, 54 and 58 which run between Minehead, Taunton and Yeovil.

The routes could disappear in April unless funding can be found.

First Bus said it is part of a regular review and no final decisions have been made.

Margaret Gamble from Langport said she would lose her job if the number 54 bus to Taunton is taken off the road.

"I couldn't afford to drive a car into Taunton. It's my way of going to work, my husband doesn't work, I need to work for money."

A woman smiling at the camera
Kerry Clare says without the 54 she may have to change jobs

Kerry Clare, from Ilchester said she might have to change jobs if the 54 were cancelled as she currently works in Yeovil.

She said: "The 54 is the first bus that comes through to Ilchester into Yeovil so the impact is quiet big for me. It may mean that I have to look for a different job or have a conversation around starting later."

A group of people holding a large green banner reading: "Save our buses"
The group have said the bus route is vital for the community

Somerset's lead member for transport and digital, Richard Wilkins, said the proposals were "disappointing".

He said the authority does not have extra government funding to subsidise the routes beyond March.

"Although there are no planned savings on bus subsidies for the next financial year, the council is under enormous financial pressure," he said.

'No final decisions'

A spokesperson from First Bus said it was conducting a review of services, which it does twice a year, and had been asked to outline what the network could look like from April 2024 if the current funding it receives was withdrawn.

They said: "It is important to note that no final decisions have been made yet on any of the four routes.

"We understand the social value that these routes provide and the great job that our people do every day to keep people moving.

"Reducing or withdrawing routes is the last thing we want to do, but without ongoing support, this could be an outcome."


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