The road less travelled… from June

Sunday services… departing soon.In a generally downbeat service update from Stagecoach in Swindon, where service 7 gets an increase in frequency, but many others are either reduced or axed altogether (R.I.P. the No 54 bus, killed off less than a year after it was re-routed to avoid West Swindon), comes advanced warning of further cuts to come.

Sunday services in the Swindon urban area
We regret that as a result of the total withdrawal of Swindon Borough Council funding for evening and Sunday bus services in Swindon that further changes will have to be introduced from Sunday 5th June 2011 and full details will be given nearer the time.

That’s quite a lot of services that are going to get a rather short back and sides unless Thamesdown and Stagecoach decide they can run them without subsidy. Currently in the evenings services 6, 7, 11, 16, 19, 20, 24, 29 and 72 and on Sundays services 6, 7, 8, 11A, 16, 17 (partly), 19 and 29 are subsidised by Swindon Borough Council.

Now I appreciate that providing a bus as a publicly subsided late night taxi is not a good use of taxpayers’ money — and many of these subsidised bus services do run with none or just one passenger on board — but a few are quite busy. Keeping a bus service running just for the sake of the one service in the middle of the evening that loads well with people heading into town for a night out may not be a viable proposition. But the blanket cut of evening and Sunday services looks like a cut made in haste, rather than a cut done with consideration for where the money could most effectively be saved.

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