A PETITION to save the 54 bus between Taunton and Yeovil has nearly received 200 signatures, despite only having been launched this week.

The petition, which launched on Monday, January 1, has so far received 190 signatures. It is hoped that this show of support could convince the council to continue to support this "vital" travel link.

Organiser Rachel Binns writes: "Current funding for buses from Somerset Council comes to an end in March 2024, leaving the number 54 bus service from Yeovil to Taunton at threat of total cancellation.

"This petition is to emphasize the importance of the route to its users to Somerset Council, to show your support, and to ask them to continue supporting this vital transport link between the county’s two largest towns."

For many residents, the service provides essential transport to work, family members and more.

One supporter said: "If the county is serious about meeting the needs of all the community, bus links are an important element for the more vulnerable members of the community in order to improve socialisation, opportunity and mobility. Losing this key route has implications on the economy of the county and the welfare of its residents."

Another added: "We need this service to get to our doctor, it is vitally important to my family."

Somerset MP Sarah Dyke is spearheading an initiative to secure the future of the 58/58A, 54 and 30 bus routes and the evening services of the D2.

Ms Dyke said: "I know how vital bus services are to local communities, which is why I campaigned hard last year to make sure the evening, Sunday and public holiday services of the D2 weren’t axed.

"I have heard numerous stories from local people who rely on these routes to go about their day-to-day lives.

"They would be left stranded if they were removed.

 “At a time of high fuel costs, as well as the climate emergency, these core bus services provide a lifeline to many in our community who have no other way to travel.

"I will continue to stand up for our buses and to put pressure on the Government to provide Somerset Council with greater support."