BRIDGWATER and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has congratulated Somerset County for signing up to the Government’s National Bus Strategy.
And he says their decision to develop a Bus Service Improvement Plan by the end of October will bring an end to ‘20 years bus service butchery’ in the county.
Officials have spent the last two months taking soundings among current and potential users of bus services in Somerset, and, they say, they are confident the improvement plan could herald a dramatic change in public transport provision, with a resultant shift away from car usage.
But Mr Liddell-Grainger believes most people in rural areas will be slightly amazed at the announcement.
He said: “For as long as I have been MP Somerset County Council has been engaged in the routine butchery of rural bus services, always claiming that its hands are tied and whining that it is all down to a lack of Government funding.
“This falls into the category of statements which people will eventually believe if you repeat them often enough.
“I congratulate the council for suddenly deciding it’s time to get involved in the national bus strategy and to start planning to reinstate services.
“I just hope it realises the size of the task it is about to take on because the service cuts have been quite vicious and have left huge swathes of the county either under-served or without any buses at all.
“I shall be watching very closely to ensure that this commitment is carried through and services are reinstated – and so will hundreds of other families in rural areas who quite understandably are now anticipating eagerly the day buses will be running as frequently as they were in the 1960s.”