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Passenger forum to be set up to discuss Frome’s bus issues

The public meeting held at the assembly rooms Frome was well attended by nearly 100 worried  residents. 

Cllr Derek Tanswell reported, “The meeting lasted an hour and a half. It covered several varied topics ranging from the 267 and 30 to drivers attitudes and the new price increases. The audience ranged from teenagers to OAPs, it was great to see such passion.

“I acted as chairman and Cllr Sharon Snook took notes with Paul Wynn from Frome Town Council walking around with the microphone. Jon Barnard, general manager of First Bus, was kind enough to answer all of the questions that were put before him. Most people seemed satisfied with his answers, even if they did not agree with him.

“A passenger forum will now be set up and run by first bus.  Tracey Harding and Denise Bull have campaigned amazingly to keep the Frome services going. They are regular users of First  bus and  know what it means to everyone who depend on them.

“Tracey is trying to  arrange for  Jon Barnard to take a trip with  them on the 267 so he can see Frome first hand, and talk to a few more of his customers.

“The issue over funding is difficult, and was raised at Somerset County Council in a question to the leader of the council John Osman, and this was delegated to the portfolio holder for highways Cllr Harvey Siggs, who refused to meet First bus to discuss funding until six months time when the next round of budget will be made available, and he felt it was for the officers to meet with first bus, not himself.

“Cllr Horsfall questioned why these decisions were made and could have been prevented if the council came directly to the elected members representing Frome Alvin and myself.

“The service that has been reinstated will only last for six months, as first bus are losing a considerable amount of money in keeping these loss making services running.

“Sharon and I hope that through all this publicity that First bus will be supported, as the 267 is a major link to Bath and the RUH. First bus are also the only major bus company to provide a evening and weekend service in this area.

“We don’t want to see this vital service being cut to every two hours, so your support is vital as I feel that Somerset Council are very reluctant to support them any further.”

Cllr Sharon Snook said, “It’s disappointing to see the Frome buses in such a predicament.”

Cllr Derek Tanswell continued, “We don’t think that any more investment will be made and this is so disappointing for us and all who have campaigned marvelously.  Peter Wheelhouse was awesome for arranging the logistic of the meeting. Finally the question submitted to SCC is listed below.”

‘With first bus withdrawing many services and cutting routes will the leader of the council sit down with the manager of first bus to see what funding can be made available? This effects many residents in being able to travel to work, do shopping and visit the hospital and loved ones.’