Rethink Bridgwater bus closure say unions
Last month we reported on plans by First Group to close the Bridgwater bus depot. Director Simon Goff announced the decision to close the depot at Boards Road. Buses will continue to use the bus station at Bridgwater as before. However the depot closure will effect staff say the RMT. Meanwhile Bridgwater Trades Union Council called on First Bus Somerset’s director Simon Goff to re-consider his decision. The Council which represents 48 union branches and over 15,000 local workers, is up in arms.
They say 53 Bridgwater-based bus drivers, supervisors, admin staff, mechanics and cleaners, all members of the RMT union, will lose their Bridgwater depot signing-on base. In other words they will be expected to turn up and start work from elsewhere, well beyond Bridgwater. And, the Council say with only minimum support for the extra travel-to-work costs they will incur. They add that even the essential rest room for drivers at the Bus Station is not guaranteed to stay open.
In a statement on the closure, Dave Chapple, Bridgwater Trades Union Council Secretary, said: “The decision to close the Bridgwater Bus Depot, which has been a central part of town life since the second world war, is a disgrace, as well as a tragedy for the workers affected. It seems as if First Bus have not seriously considered the Health and Safety aspects of the Bridgwater Depot closure: bus breakdowns, and closures of both the M5 Motorway and the A38 between Taunton and Highbridge are not unusual: and any of these occurrences can trigger drivers being forced over their legal driving limits, with 20 miles or more between surviving depots.
Despite substantial County and National Government subsidies, First Bus Somerset are also taking this opportunity to slash even more services, including cuts to 21/21a on Saturdays, the Bridgwater town No 1 Route and the 75 to Wells. (A list of all the proposed cuts is attached) Anyone would think that Somerset did not have the unenviable reputation of having some of the lowest bus passenger numbers in the UK!
Simon Goff has promised the RMT that any alternatives to closure will be reconsidered. So: is First Bus a profitable
company? Yes! Should they re-consider their Bridgwater Depot closure plan? Yes! Should they reinstate ALL the
proposed cuts to their services? Yes! “
Yeovil loses buses
Meanwhile the new bus timetables starting in September will see cuts to the 51 service in Yeovil on Saturdays. The service will only operate every 45 minutes instead of every half hour. There will also be cuts to the pre 9am running of the same service Monday to Friday.