Apr 2017 - 33/87 Service changes

30th April changes:

33 service
We have received some feedback regarding the new timetable on the 33/x33 service between Chippenham and Devizes which comes into effect from 30th April. We took over the operation of this service after the previous operator ceased trading at short notice over the New Year period.
It soon became apparent to us that the service in its original format was not financially viable. We approached Wiltshire Council to see if funding was available to maintain the previous level of service but none was available due to the cuts they are facing from central government. We therefore had a decision to make, to amend the service in an effort to make it financially viable or to cancel the service. Had we taken the decision to cancel the service there would be no certainty that another operator would step in to ascertain whether a commercially service was viable and in the event that there is no Council funding available this may have seen the 33 service disappear entirely.
Funding cuts such as those being experienced by Wiltshire Council at the moment are nothing new. Somerset Council ceased funding public transport a few years ago with a large number of rural services being cut. Given the pressure being put on Wiltshire Council at the moment we are trying to work with them to keep service cuts to a minimum but unfortunately where services are used by only a small number of people it may become necessary to make these difficult decisions in order to protect the service as a whole moving forward.

87 service
The 87 service was part funded by Wiltshire Council. Included in this service was a commercial trip which provided transport between Devizes and Lavington School. We took the decision to provide the Council with the required three months notice that we wished to end the funding agreement we had with them at the start of the year. At this point the Council published a timetable which operators are then able to submit tenders. The timetable which was presented to operators did not include the trip between Devizes and Lavington School. The decision not to include this in the timetable was taken by Wiltshire Council as they are not obliged to provide transport to those who may not be travelling to their designated school. The 87 service is now fully funded by Wiltshire Council with no commercially operated trips.

We are happy to discuss these changes with passengers affected but would also urge people to speak with your local Councillor to make them aware that vital transport links are at threat if the current trend of cuts to Public Transport budgets continue.