Whose bus service is it anyway?

Others have already covered in some detail the buck-passing that has followed the re-routing of Stagecoach Route 54 away from Freshbrook. They’ve already noted that there’s been a certain amount of uninformed Braying going on. Quite why, given his political affiliation, Mr Bray is disappointing with the functioning of market forces puzzles me. But then, given how poor Mr Bray’s memory is, perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Over 400 members of the travelling public have signed a petition requesting the service be reinstated. They and I believe it will attract many more customers if it is properly advertised, unlike its arrival out of the blue in 2007.

Now there are many things that Stagecoach might reasonably be accused of, but being publicity-shy is not one of them. I’m not sure how much publicity it would need to get Mr Bray’s attention, but Routes 54 and 55 and the TransWilts Express all received extensive publicity — to accompany new buses and a more frequent service — when they were revamped in 2007 with the aid of a part-funded government scheme.

And just as in town planning, a petition is worthless. What matters is the number of passengers. If the majority of passengers are travelling from Wootton Bassett to central Swindon — as Stagecoach clearly believe — then a fifteen minute detour round the suburbs of west Swindon is no incentive to leave the car at home and take the bus instead.