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BUS USER GROUP TELLS FIRST BUS ‘YOU MUST DO BETTER’

The Burnham and Highbridge Bus User Group have told First Bus they need to urgently improve their service at a meeting on 14th May 2024.

Users of the bus network in Burnham and Highbridge voiced their concerns with the service, providing valuable interaction with operator First Bus Group as well as the local Town Council, Somerset Council and Bridgwater & Taunton College.

The session heard views from a student bus user, who spoke of frequent issues with buses, resulting in their late attendance for college or being left stranded when trying to return home. 

Of the key routes discussed, the 20 service from Taunton to Burnham-on-Sea and the 21/21A service from Weston-Super-Mare to Burnham-On-Sea were identified for improvements to service reliability.

Bus users detailed how the buses were unreliable and that communication from First Group was patchy.  A student, who said he wanted to ensure young peoples’ voices were heard by the bus company, said how he and his friends were often late for college.  Other bus users who spoke included parents of students who struggled going to work while feeling a lack of confidence in the bus service to turn up to take their children to college.  A key issue raised was not being provided with information when a bus was running late, not stopping or not turning up altogether.

It was commented that there was no bench at some stops, or covers for when it rained, while other complaints included the Bus App not being reliable and the company failing to provide updates on X (formerly Twitter).

“This is totally unacceptable, leaving young people isolated and abandoned,” said Cllr Millard.

Cllr Richard Wilkins, Lead Member for Transport at Somerset Council, said: “First Bus has a lot of problems and this needs to be sorted quickly.  Reliability is key; if buses aren’t reliable, people stop using them. That is unacceptable.”

In response, First Bus explained some of the challenges affecting the service, including workforce shortages.  More staff are being recruited and they are conducting weekly service reviews. 

First Bus acknowledged that they are not quick enough in providing real time information when there are issues with buses.

First Group have shown a willingness to improve these services, in particular the 20 and 21/21A.  

The Bus Group will be monitoring the services and looks forward to seeing First Bus delivering on their promises to improve services and communication to users.

Picture above of attendees at the meeting.

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Financial Risk Management Policy - March 2023

Grant Application Kings Coronation Form

The Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III will take place on Saturday 6th May 2023, with an additional bank holiday on Monday 8th May 2023.

We are keen to hear from groups/organisations in Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge that are looking to celebrate the Coronation. The Town Council has £1500 available to allocate to events being organised to celebrate the Kings Coronation. The maximum grant to be allocated per event will be £500.

You must meet the following criteria for your application to be considered:

– The event will be open to all members of the public

– The event will be free of charge

– The event will take place within the Coronation weekend

– The event will take place within Burnham on Sea or Highbridge

 

Applications will close on Monday 6th March at midday. 

Your organisation and contact details

What happens next....
Applications will be considered at the Finance and Resources Committee Meeting on Monday 13th March 2023. You will be notified after this date whether your application has been successful.
Burnham & Highbridge Town Council takes your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information for the purposes of contacting you about this grant. The Council’s privacy notice can be found here.

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