Public Transport in Wiltshire - the way forward
Update - 19th November 2019 - Since our last update, we have seen many changes on buses and bus routes. Of particuar note, the Climate / sustainabiity agenda has come much to the forefront, and Extinction Rebellion has also come to the fore. Some may question their methods, but they've certainly help bring the need for a sustainable future to public attention - and a typical bus journey generates just a third of the CO2 of a similar car journey. Of course, the bus may be going anyway (so virtually zero cost for your seat) but the the car makes a special trip. To a very great extent, we succeeded in 2016 in bringing buses and the need to do things better to the fore; witness the funding cut far lower than any of the options offered in consultation. We expect a busy 2020 in a very changed enviroment. Read about it on our Facebook group - 23 posts / messages / reactions in the last 28 days.
Update - 21st May 2017 - Bus services Bill became Bus Services Act at the start of the month; new cabinet portfolio holder for highways and transport appointed shortly after local elections on 4th May. Many services to be retendered this summer / autumn, with operating contracts for supported services to run from January 2018. Watch this space for an update before the first weekend in June; we are meeting council officers next week.
Update - 8th October 2016 - Wilsthire Council has decided to cut £500k from next year's bus budget rather than five times that amount which was their least draconian financial option in the consultation. Excellent news; perhaps not sustainable to future years, but a real window of opportunity which possibility they acknowledge in their reports. See [here] for initial links and info.
The "bus consultation" has closed (4 April 2016). A big THANK YOU to everyone who responded, whether or not you supported the option 247 proposals on this web site. We understand there have been over
If you missed the consultation, don't worry. There have been sufficient inputs to ensure that Option 24/7 is carefully considered over the next weeks, with the option 24/7 team looking to assist Wiltshire Council in the evaluation. Please feel free to join the option247 facebook group, or to sign up via 'contact us' page.
We're not calling on you to shout your support for Option 247 this month (May 2016). We don't want you to get "campaign fatigue". We want you to keep fresh so that you can help us later on. Wiltshire Council has a positive window of opportunity as it reviews and amends the public transport provision in the county - and a very interested community in helping them do so in a way that's positive for us all.
Update Mid May - the Bus Services Bill has been published and appears to be very much in line (as widely predicted) with Option 24/7. We are reading into this and briefing as appropriate.
We encourage respondents to the Wiltshire Council's bus subsidy consultation to request the council to take a look at the complete public transport network and not only at what's needed on the individual branch line routes. We believe there is a more advantageous alternative, and have called this "Option 24/7".
There are significant council subsidy savings to be made in each of the areas that you are being asked to comment on. But these savings are not made by cutting routes and services in isolation from each other, which is the gist of the questions being asked on the consultation. Rather, by looking at a total transport -- an integrated network and quality scheme that is already used in some areas -- existing resources can be used better. And a better system and network will help fill empty seats. We ask you to say "no" to isolationist cuts and write in your preference for a better scheme: Option 24/7 Case Outline.
This option is supported by Chippenham MP Michelle Donelan, and is in line with the buses bill proposals due next month. It is not offered as an option on the consultation because that consultation was based on work started in May 2015, before there was a likelihood of government action to resolve constraints that now force our local council to consider unprofitable bus routes in isolation from profitable commercial ones.