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Petition launched to fight bus cuts to Frome Medical Centre

MORE than 1,000 people have signed a petition opposing the reduction in the bus service serving Frome Medical Centre.

The health centre, which cost £10.5million to build, was expected to have an increased bus service. However, as revealed in the Frome Times recently, the bus service is in fact to be reduced with the First Bus company’s current 161 service to the Frome hospital being cut from every hour to every two hours.

The petition was started by staff at the Frome Medical Centre after the announcement of cuts to the bus service caused uproar amongst patients and staff. The petition is available to sign at the centre itself and is located in the reception area.

Senior partner of Frome Medical Practice, Dr Tina Merry told Frome Times, “This reduction in public transport to a major health facility that attracts more than 1,200 patients, relatives and visitors on a daily basis, is simply not acceptable.

“At the end of last year,  it was clear that First were looking at increasing the bus service to the health park by looking at changing the route of the Bath 267 service. This would have made a significant improvement in public transport to the health park.

“However, instead of the anticipated news that the health park is to have a new bus service, I learn that not only is that new service not going to happen, but that the existing 161/162 service is to be culled from an hourly to a two-hourly service.

“This is a disgrace. Many of the patients for both the community hospital and the medical centre are reliant on public transport. They have no other means of getting here. The health park was specifically built with ample access for buses, with both a turning area and lay-by.”

Operator First Bus said financial pressures and a drop in the number of customers were to blame. Jon Barnard of First Bus said, “The changes were being introduced with the co-operation of the local authority and transport focus groups in the South West.

“It is entirely down to the fact that this service is now having to be operated purely on a commercial basis.”