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Public and sustainable transport in Wiltshire

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New timetables from 28th July - bus routes 271 and 272

First are changing the route and timetables on their 271 and 272 from 28th July. New routes and timetables were registered with the bus licensing folks at least 56 days before the changes, and they're available there for all - but at a price, which has to be paid by cheque or postal order. You would have thought that these days...

Anyway, I have the timetables now:


 

 


Basically, the routes remain hourly, but now run from Melksham Market Place to Bowerhill via Melksham Forest. It then runs a loop around Bowerhill - direct out via Devizes Road and following the same route as at present around the estate. The service then goes direct up Spa Road into Melksham.

Positives - a new through service from Melksham Forest to and from Bath - and Melksham Forest is the part of Melksham with the lowest proportion of cars to people. Until now, their only bus has been within the town. And the new service, if it does well, will generate bums on seats on the 271/272. Also the new route save the double loop around Bowerhill which has been pretty pointless.

Negatives - a slightly slower journey from Melksham town centre to Bowerhill, and a removal of the First bus service from Bath direct to Well House Manor and to Melksham Hospital / Giffords and St Damian's surgery.

It's also been noted that the 272 will set out around the Forest just a few minutes ahead of the town bus 14, and I have been asked if this might be an attempt by the commercial service to abstract passenger journeys. Well - it could be, but it's Faresaver rather than First who have a reputation for doing that. I rather suspect we'll see news soon that alternate journeys on the 14 will not go down Queensway, but will go via the new housing at East Melksham instead, thus retaining a half hourly service on most of the Forest cycle, and adding an overdue service on to the new estates - hopefully before everybody has bought a second car!

Interestingly, there's now one less peak bus into Bath in the morning, and one extra early morning bus from Bath to Melksham. This removes the need to stable two buses at Melksham overnight, or run them out empty, and I suspect it will mean the closure of that facility in the town. Perhaps this is why it's been quite hard to get the detailed timetable!

Overall - as a first opinion, it seems sensible. Of course, I would consider it sensible as it's a modified version of what I suggested at the First Bus Customer Panel meeting late last year - see item (c) in [this report]. Good to see local inputs, and common sense,working together. It will effect us, negatively, at Well House Manor as we can no longer tell people to get the First bus to outside our place (unless they ride all around both loops), but for the town and its people as a whole, it looks like good news.

More details of the background story, and other route changes, [here]. Hopefully, I'll have more on the 234, and 235/236 fairly soon. I know there are some changes there, though not as many. I suspect that the 235 that starts at Melksham will now run up as a 236 from Trowbridge first, thus closing Melksham stabling point completely.
(written 2013-06-24, updated 2013-06-29)

 
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Z511 - Public Transport - Road
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Chippenham - Melksham - Trowbridge bus changes next month
Some other Articles
Exploring the area ... Ynys, near Harlech
Where are we now? On holiday!
The first Luas of the morning
New timetables from 28th July - bus routes 271 and 272
Well House - booking through agents
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Melksham - Flower Town
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