Concerns are raised over changes to bus routes and timetables
By Somerset Guardian | Saturday, November 10, 2012, 06:00
Concerns have been voiced about changes to routes and timetables for bus services.
Public transport provider First has reviewed bus services in and around Bath and made changes to its network on Sunday.
It made alterations to 12 routes including Service 179 from Bath to Midsomer Norton, Service 173 from Bath to Wells and Service 178 from Bath to Bristol.
First said the changes are designed to improve the punctuality and reliability of services, and give customers additional opportunities to travel.
Residents living in the Brittens Hill and Ham Lane area of Paulton have voiced concerns about the changes, which now sees the 178 service no longer stopping close to them as it is re-routed via the High Street.
Councillor Liz Hardman (Lab, Paulton), alongside fellow Bath and North East Somerset Council ward representative councillor John Bull, has contacted First Bus objecting to the route change in the hope of convincing the company to reconsider including the area on the route.
Mrs Hardman said: "Many people in the Brittens Hill and Ham Lane area of Paulton will be alarmed to hear that the Bristol 178 bus will no longer call at stops close to them but will be routed via the High Street. This will involve them in a long walk to the nearest stop.
"The reason, apparently, is that this service will now call at Timsbury and this additional distance will extend the route above 50km, at which point First Bus need to comply with extra regulations on driver hours.
"Since the only reason for the change seems to be to shorten the route to avoid this happening we have written to First Bus to object to the change of route and ask them to reconsider it."
Simon Ford, regional network manager for First, said: "We believe that the changes will have a positive effect on bus users in the region, providing more journey opportunities in many places.
"We would strongly urge customers to check the new timetables to ensure that they understand the changes that are being made and how this may impact on them as individuals."
New timetables for the affected services can be viewed online and downloaded from www.firstgroup.com.
Hard copy timetables are available to pick up from Travel Shops.
Anyone wanting independent help or advice planning journeys by bus can contact Traveline by calling 0871 200 2233 or visiting www.traveline sw.com.