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Rumours of bus changes by First in Wiltshire - what we know and suspect

There are rumours flying around concerning the future of First Bus routes to the east and south of Bath, into Wiltshire and Somerset. Some of these rumours conflict; I'm posting here what I believe to be the situation.

25 hours later (late 2nd March) - I'm updating this article with information received; sources including Faresaver and Wiltshire Council, so the updates are much more certain than "rumours" ... thank you both for feedback. Updated all in underlined, bold.

Bus route 265 - Bath to Salisbury via Trowbridge and Warminster
(Daily to Warminster with some evening services; Monday to Saturday to Salisbury)
(Some evening and Sunday services supported by Wiltshire Council - others commercial)
Minor timetable changes, with some services rerouted to serve North Bradley

Bus route 272 - Bath to Melksham (Bowerhill)
(Monday to Saturday daytime route - Commercial Service)
Minor timetable changes

Bus route 231 - Bath to Chippenham
(Daily; Monday to Saturday daytime - Commercial. Evening and Sunday - Wiltshire Council Supported)
Service withdrawn
I am told "Wiltshire Council will be funding evening & Sunday journeys between Bath, Corsham & Chippenham, but is still in discussion over the evening timings.". I am also aware of assurances given when the 234 was withdrawn concerning evening services ... see [here] - which did not bring evening services.

Bus route 10 - Corsham Town Bus
(Monday to Saturday daytime - Wiltshire Council Supported)
Service withdrawn
I am told "Wiltshire Council will be trying to find a replacement operator for the Corsham Town 10;"

Bus route 271 - Bath to Melksham, Devizes and Urchfont
(Evening and Sunday Route - Wiltshire Council Supported)
Minor timetable changes

Bus route 267 - Bath to Frome
(Daily; Evening services Monday to Saturdays are BaNES Council Supported)
Evening supported services withdrawn.
Further update, 4th March 2016 - changes to 267 from 23rd April are unclear and said to be timetable adjustments. Any changes to funded services except for timing details are unlikely until April 2017

On route 231, First feel that there isn't room for two commercial operators and are stepping aside leaving the commercial route to Faresaver. Supported evening and Sunday services have been deregistered too, though we understand that there are hopes that a new registration (as "x31") will be made for these supported services. There is, however, a close parallel here to the withdrawl last August (2015) of route 234 by First, where hopes and encouragement that an evening x34 would be provided foundered on funding not being approved for a very limited service. Also looking back at the 234 / x34 experience, Faresaver have provided a couple of extra buses in the early morning, and I'm sure they'll be looking at that "commercial/subsidised shoulder" on x31 too.

With no daytime service remaining in Corsham, it's logical for First to pull out their town bus; the support funding released should be available to fund a replacement, but we don't know who might bid for that, and whether they would offer an affordable price.

By the 265 running through North Bradley, it will be competing with the Trowbridge Town bus 67. As bus support is intended to provide services not covered commercially, this rerouting of the 265 may have implcations for the 67 contract. Wiltshire Council tell me "There are no proposals to change Trowbridge Town service 67 at this stage, as that service serves parts of the village that 265 will not, and existed before 264/265 exited North Bradley a few years ago."

Where "minor timetable changes" is used as the description, we don't yet know just how minor.

Should these rumours prove to be close to the truth, the illustrate the danger of the cravasse and lack of co-ordination between commercial and supported services. They have proven remarkably accurate ;-)

Current First bus run services from Bath to Chippenham at 05:40, 06:10, 06:40 and 07:05 before the first Faresaver bus at 07:35. From Chippeham to Bath, the first buses run by both companies are at around 06:45.

The final Faresaver bus from Chippenham to Bath leaves at 16:42; later First buses run at 17:02, 17:32, 18:07, 18:37, 19:10, 19:55, 20:55 and 21:55 - these latter two being supported by Wiltshire Council. The final Faresaver bus from Bath to Chippenham runs at 17:35; later First buses run at 17:50, 18:45, 19:45, 20:45 and 23:00 and it appears that none is supported.

Faresaver have registered an updated x31, so there services will start somewhat earlier and finish somewhat later than at present. Some fine tuning continues prior to publication

See Option 247 for the way I think buses should be in the future ... and there's a consultation open there for you.
(written 2016-03-01, updated 2016-03-04)

 
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Z950 - Purely Personal
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  [4669] Buses - how did we get into the situation we are in? - (2016-04-02)
  [4658] The end of competition on a bus route - the effects from then end of the 234 - (2016-03-02)
  [4625] Where does Wiltshire bus subsidy money come from? - (2016-01-19)
  [4600] A big change in August - (2015-12-25)
  [4489] Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08)
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Z407 - Option 24/7 - the way forward for Wiltshire buses
  [4703] What do people use the bus for in Wiltshire - survey interim results. - (2016-07-11)
  [4694] Supported Bus Services in Wiltshire - analysis of written-in comments - (2016-06-11)
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  [4690] Buses in Wiltshire - potential changes and where we stand at the moment - (2016-05-30)
  [4667] Wiltshire Supported Bus consultation - final few days - (2016-03-30)
  [4660] What is happening on the 231 bus? What are you going to do about it? - (2016-03-04)
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  [4648] Why is bus funding a much hotter topic than a new set of traffic lights? - (2016-02-16)
  [4636] Rail user groups worried about what is happening on the buses - (2016-01-31)
  [4631] What would the Wiltshire Council bus cuts mean for Melksham? - (2016-01-25)
  [4630] The story behind the bus cuts, and what they could mean - (2016-01-24)
  [4624] Campaigning for a sensible bus solution and not against anyone! - (2016-01-17)
  [4621] The power of scripting - (2016-01-12)
  [4619] Buses - not about the buses, but about the people who use the buses - (2016-01-10)


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Forward to
The end of competition on a bus route - the effects from then end of the 234
Some other Articles
Unique word locator - Python dict example
Prining a pound sign from Python AND running from the command line at the same time
Rumours of bus changes by First in Wiltshire - what we know and suspect
Identifying the first and last records in a sequence
Image indexer / thumbnail display scripts in PHP
Coats of arms - towns and authorities in Wiltshire
Testing new algorithms in PHP
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