The nights are drawing in, party season is almost here and the message from Somerset Council is have a hassle-free night and ‘Bus It.’
The Council is using ring-fenced Government funding to subsidise evening services from Monday to Saturday connecting Taunton with the towns of Minehead, Bridgwater, Wellington and Chard after 8pm. Most services run a last bus from Taunton up to 11pm.
The initiative started earlier in the year and is part of Somerset’s Bus Service Improvement Plan. This week the Council has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the services.
Combined with a £2 fare for any single journey in Somerset – £4 return – and a £1 fare for any single journey in the Taunton zone that’s a great money-saving start to your night out, whether it’s the dancefloor, movies, a romantic meal for two or letting your hair down with your mates.
It is also great value if you work shifts and do not want to rely on your car. You can just sit back, relax, and open your book or catch up on that episode. There are hourly services between Bridgwater and Musgrove Park Hospital, and Silk Mills Park and Ride and the hospital.
The evening bus routes are as follows:
1E – Taunton to Priorswood/Musgrove Park/Silk Mills Park and Ride – hourly service with last departure from Taunton Parade to Silk Mills 10.35pm and last departure from Taunton Parade to Priorswood at 11.05pm.
21 – Bridgwater to Taunton (Musgrove Park Hospital) – hourly service with last departure from Musgrove Park Hospital to Bridgwater Bus Station 11.03pm and last departure from Bridgwater Bus Station to Musgrove Park Hospital 10.15pm.
22 – Wellington to Taunton – hourly service with last departure from Taunton Castle Way at 11.05pm and last departure from Wellington High Street at 11.50pm.
28 – Minehead to Taunton – (including diversion via Cotford St Luke and Norton Fitzwarren on last three journeys in each direction) . Additional journeys at 8.30pm and 10.30pm from Taunton Castle Way and 8.45pm and 10.15pm from Minehead, Butlins.
30 – Taunton to Chard – Additional journeys at 8.10pm and 10.10.pm from Taunton Parade to Chard (via Taunton Gateway Park & Ride) and an additional journey 9.11pm from Chard, Boden Street.
It is hoped evening buses will help boost the night-time economies in Taunton and the other towns on this evening network, as well as supporting people who work outside of 9-5 hours or need to attend training and education courses.
Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Transport and Digital, Councillor Mike Rigby said:
We know this was a really popular move – people welcomed the introduction of evening buses.
With the ongoing cost of living crisis and people looking to save money where they can, these services are fantastic both in terms of making that fun night out a bit more affordable and in supporting the evening economy in all the towns concerned.
Whether you’re heading home from work after a long shift or heading to the dancefloor I’d urge people to take a look and see if they can ‘Bus’ It on an evening service.
It’s vital that people use the services and make them sustainable in the long-run so they become a permanent fixture.
First Bus South Director James Eustace, said:
We’re delighted to play our part in providing these extra services, helping local people get out and about by bus in the evenings.
Buses are a sustainable way to travel and offer great value for money. We’re keen to encourage more people to try the bus and with recent improvements in reliability of our services, now is a fantastic time to ‘Bus it’.
Somerset Council and the Somerset Bus Partnership launched the ‘Bus It’ campaign last summer to try and encourage more people to ‘Bus It’. You can find out more about it here and you can use the calculator to work out how much you could save: Bus it – You know it makes sense.
Figures show that bus use has increased by 32 per cent across the county between January and June 2023 thanks to initiatives such as fare capping and the Bus It campaign.
To plan your journey on these and all Somerset bus routes visit our Think Travel portal.