Somerset County Council is reviewing our funding of local bus services, and would be grateful for your views before a final decision is made. Please see the information below for full details, and a link to our online survey.
Somerset County Council's Review of Subsidised Local Bus Services
Due to a continuing decrease in the amount of funding the Government gives the Council to run local services, and to manage competing demands for services that the Council is legally obliged to provide; Somerset County Council needs to review the amount of money it gives to support bus services. We'd like your views on potential changes to the services that we support.
What transport services does the Council currently provide?
The County Council currently provides subsidised public transport on 81 routes across the County which are not commercially viable. Some of these routes are fully funded by Somerset County Council and some are partially supported.
We also work closely with Community Transport providers to ensure accessibility to rural communities where there is no other form of public transport available. Somerset currently has a very high coverage of 'demand responsive' services such as the Slinky Bus which operates in 92% of Parishes.
What Public Transport services are the Council legally obliged to provide?
The Council is not legally obliged to provide any public or community transport services, but does have a duty to secure public transport services which would not otherwise be provided, where the Council feel this is appropriate.
What are the options for changes to the supported bus network?
Increasingly difficult choices will need to be made about where we provide support in the future.
Several routes (see table attached) have been identified by the Council for possible reductions in financial support due to either:
- Availability or proximity of alternative services;
- Low passenger use;
- Specific tourism route which we are no longer able to support;
- Possible Commercial replacement.
It is our view that demand responsive services should be kept where possible to provide access for rural communities, particularly for our elderly population and people with disabilities who may not have access to a car.
We are also proposing that some services will operate at a reduced frequency rather than our support being entirely withdrawn to ensure people can still make journeys by public transport.