BUS passengers in local villages have been signing a petition to keep the X88 service to Bath running, following proposals to withdraw the Wednesday and Saturday shopper services.
The X88 runs from Chitterne through Tilshead, Erlestoke, Bratton, Steeple Ashton, and Hilperton, providing villagers with a valued way to get to Bath. But Wiltshire Council is proposing to withdraw the Wednesday and Saturday shoppers’ service as it makes reductions to bus services in an effort to cut 12% from the bus services budget.
The X88 is valued by many villagers as it allows them a morning shopping in Bath, without the daunting prospect of tackling the Bath traffic and finding car parking in the city. It is also used by villagers who do not have the option of driving.
Passengers have been advised that they can travel to Warminster or Trowbridge and change buses there to get to Bath, but villagers say that this is a long and troublesome journey.
The petition also surveys bus users on other questions such as which of the Wednesday and Saturday service they value the most, and whether they would be prepared to pay 1/2 fare if a pensioner.
Over 120 signatures and responses have been collected in Bratton alone, and the petition has been in place in the post offices of other villages as well as on the bus itself. The signatures have now been collected and sent to Ian White, head of services for passenger transport at Wiltshire Council. Comments can also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of April.
The proposed cuts to the X88 service come alongside those to other bus services in the county. They have arisen despite a previous announcement from Wiltshire Council that car parking charges would safeguard funding for local bus services. Cllr Richard Gamble, Wiltshire Council’s portfolio holder for public transport, told the White Horse News that the charges “will not be sufficient” to avoid the changes to bus services (White Horse News 484, dated 31st March 2011).