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Plans to raise bus fares will 'impact on local economy'
NOT only could bus users in West Somerset be losing out on services but they could also end up paying more for their tickets.
At a council meeting last week, Somerset County councillors considered plans to increase fares by 15% as a result of rising costs for bus operators. Justine Baker, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for West Somerset and Bridgwater, has been campaigning to make sure more bus cuts don’t go ahead.
She said: “Bus cuts have impacted massively in West Somerset with many rural villages now having a very reduced service or no service at all.
“Bus cuts have meant that those people who rely on them for college or work are now stranded but Somerset County Council is also now looking at increasing the fares of the services that are left, raising them by 15%.
“Again this huge rise is unacceptable; many other bus services are raising fares by 6% but this is double even that.
“I know of people who are now unable to get to work and are worried about losing their jobs because of this, meaning such bus cuts will have an impact on the local economy.
“Public transport should be increased, not reduced, especially in areas like Bridgwater and West Somerset.”
At the meeting, Cllr Leigh Redman (Labour) said: “Bus operators have increased their costs by 6%, not a 15% increase, and we should sit down and talk with them about it.”
The county council is currently carrying out a transport survey to find out how often people use bus services.
To complete the survey visit www.somerset.gov.uk/transportsu rvey or to request a paper copy, phone 08453-459155. The consultation period ends on Sunday (February 9).
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