Need to be updated to include: Bus it launch, CTBM, Meetings,
Somerset County Council presentation on Community Transport, Somerset County Council's in house fleet and the Think Travel Portal.
Tuesday 2 November - Zoom meeting to update our bus champions and interesting parties on the impending bus crisis. 100 people in attendance. Slides of the meeting on the right.
Vidoe of meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSYB22Qz7cQ
Monday 6 June - Zoom meeting held with approx 53 people in attendance. This meeting was for new Councillors who were recently elected and new people wanting an introduction to buses and to Somerset Bus Partnership.
Presentation slides -
More people needed to join Somerset Bus Partnership - we are looking to strenthen and expand our core team. We are looking for project leaders and thinkers who can help develop projects and strategy. We are also looking for help with:
Graphic design of leaflet / logo / posters
Press release writing for local newspapers / parish magazines
Ability to write statements on buses we can submit to Council's e.g Somerset Council (we can give you the key points to include)
Website / Search Engine Optimization
Bus industry experience / council experience with buses
Submitting basic fundraising bids (we can help provide the key points to include)
Social media experience and be prepared to post on various Facebook groups across Somerset and follow up with replies.
Monday 6 June - Peter Travis Co-Chair of Somerset Bus Partnership interviewed on BBC Radio Somerset.
David Redgwell and bus users featured on BBC Spotlight and BBC Points West.
SERVICE CHANGES FOR JUNE - Bus service changes for June have been announced. See our Bus Changes page for the latest information.
May 2022 - Somerset Bus Partnership had a meeting with Councillor Mike Rigby, the
Lead Member for Transport and Digital for the newly elected Somerst County Council. We
had a productive meeting discussing bus issues in Somerset.
Wednesday 4 May: PARTY LEADERS IN SOMERSET BACK MORE MONEY FOR BUSES
Leaders of the Conservatives, LibDems, Labour and the Greens in Somerset are now all backing
more money to be spent on buses which is a key point in the Somerset Bus Partnership BUS
MANIFESTO that was launched last month.
Peter Travis, Co-Chair of Somerset Bus Partnership, said, “We launched our BUS MANIFESTO to make buses a key issue for all the parties standing for the Unitary election and we now have the leaders of all the main parties in Somerset personally backing our BUS MANIFESTO.
Also, more than half of all the candidates (that's over 170 of them) who are standing for election in Somerset have contacted Somerset Bus partnership individually and pledged their personal support for improving buses in Somerset.”
The 6-point Somerset Bus Partnership BUS MANIFESTO calls for a core network of frequent, high-quality services linking Somerset towns and villages, an extension of demand responsive Slinky buses, better integration with rail, cheaper fares especially for young people and to transition to zero emission buses by 2030.
The Somerset Bus Partnership notes, “Much of this will rely on Somerset winning more Government money, but we now have all the major political parties committed to providing increased financial support for buses over the next 5 years of the new Somerset Unitary council that we will be electing on Thursday”.
Somerset Bus Partnership was set up just over a year ago to campaign for better buses in Somerset. Somerset has been shown to have the worst rated bus services in the country and has the second lowest bus journeys per head of the population (according to Department for Transport statistics). Somerset Bus Partnership is independent and is not associated with any political party. It now has over 120 representatives of town and parishes from across Somerset.
The following candidates standing in the election for the new Somerset Unitary Council have indicated their support for the Somerset Bus Partnership BUS MANIFESTO (please see the following link for this information): https://www.somersetbuspartnership.co.uk/our-bus-manifesto
April 6 - Think Travel Portal Launched
Somerset County Council has developed a new journey planning website called ‘Think Travel’ which is now available through the link below. The website is dedicated to planning journeys within Somerset and includes information on public buses and community transport as well as SCC’s Slinky demand responsive transport (DRT) service. There is also a dedicated noticeboard area to help facilitate car sharing where individuals or groups can post offers or requests for lifts.
The website will be particularly useful to individuals or groups who have difficulty accessing public transport and want to know what other transport options are available to them.
Please can you share the link with partners, individuals and groups that you support or anyone that you think would benefit from its use.
Tuesday 5 April - We have launched our Bus Manifesto for Somerset. We will be asking all candidates in the upcoming elections to support what we feel is the minimum that the new County Council/Unitary Authority should agree to.
We will be publishing a list of those candidates who we have had replies from and have shown their support for our Bus Manifesto on Monday 2 May. The list will be published on Our Bus Manifesto page.
Friday 1 April - We have heard that an award will be made to Somerset County Council. The indicative amount is £11.9 million, less than 8% of what was requested in the Bus Service Improvement Plan. We are waiting for confirmation of the amount and how this can be used to improve Bus Services in Somerset. Your views are important to us - please use the contact form on the contact us page to tell us what you think.
Thursday 24 March at 1930 - Somerset Bus Partnership meeting - launched our Bus Manifesto.
Slides of meeting are to the right as a PDF.
You Tube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37KDkKRja3Y&t=6133s
1 March - The Government anncounced the extension of the Bus Recovery Grant until October 2022. We would envisage this announcment will prevent most bus services being affected by severe bus cuts in April (the planned date for the next service changes).
For more information: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/over-150-million-provided-to-safeguard-local-transport-services-as-the-country-emerges-from-the-pandemic
28 February - 126 Somerset Bus Partnership Respresentatives
We have now got 126 represetnatives across Somerset! If you would like
to be your parish representative please do get in touch.
28 February - Over 50 letters by Somerset Bus Partnership
represenatives sent to Baroness Vere Of Norbiton (Buses Minister)
Rushi Sunak, Chancellor Of The Exchequer requesting a continuation
of the Bus Recovery Fund money.
This fund is due to run out at the beginning of April. If the fund isn't
continued then buses are likely to be cut by a 1/3 due to low bus usage
during Covid. Bus userage is around 60% of pre Covid levels in the
Somerset / South West. Pre Omicron it was around 70-75% Somerset / South West.
16 February - Peter Travis, Co-Chair of Somerset Bus Partnership interviewed on BBC Somerset.
15 February: Email update to our represetnatives and call for action
We have had a very busy few months since our last regional Zoom meetings with Somerset Bus Partnership representatives.
This note is therefore an update but also a call for urgent action.
First, to update you on the progress that Somerset Bus Partnership continues to make in terms of representing and advancing the cause of bus passengers in the Somerset area through the Bus Back Better process.
All our co-chairs now have seats on the key decision-making Bus Advisory Board (this Board is primarily a forum for all the bus operators in Somerset). We also have Peter Travis as Chair and Tony Reese as Vice Chair of the Bus User and Stakeholder Bus Group. We have had two meetings of the Bus Advisory Board and Bus User and Stakeholder Bus Group.
We are in ongoing dialogue with MPs, County and District Councillors, officers at SCC and bus company executives. We have written to Boris Johnson and Baroness Vera.
We have been lobbying Somerset County Council to increase their funding of buses and have spoken at the SCC Scrutiny meetings as part of the budget review process for 2022/2023. We have also written to all the political parties with the Somerset Bus Partnership manifesto for buses. We have so far met with the Lib Dem, Labour and Green party representatives.
Peter Travis has met with David Warburton MP, and he is currently seeing if a meeting can be arranged with David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, to discuss bus funding.
There is no announcement from the Department of Transport on how much money Somerset County Council will get for their Bus Service Improvement plan but they should hopefully hear in February. As soon as we have more information about the funding and next steps we will arrange a further meeting with our representatives.
Whether it is shaping the Bus Service Improvement Plan for the benefit of current and potential passengers or playing a pivotal role in moving forward ground breaking bus decarbonisation initiatives, Somerset Bus Partnership has been front and centre of it all.
But we couldn’t do any of it without the support and efforts of you, the ‘local representatives’ in the villages and towns of Somerset.
We now have over 110 representatives from across the county of Somerset ... we applaud you for stepping forward and taking on this role on behalf of your communities. It is because of your efforts the Somerset Bus Partnership gets a place at the top table and ensures our collective voice is heard about the issues facing bus users. Your input on your local bus issues is invaluable to us, and we have already raised with the key players many of the submissions that we have received. Please do keep them coming.
URGENT ACTION NEEDED.
Bus Services in Somerset Under Threat
The Covid-19 Bus Recovery Grant funding is currently enabling our bus services in Somerset to operate despite most of our bus routes operating at only 60% of pre Covid levels.
If the Covid-19 Bus Recovery Grant funding is not extended into April and beyond, we will see our bus services slashed.
The Local Government Association is suggesting in April our bus services could be cut by 30%. Some bus services will go completely. Wera Hobhouse, Bath’s MP, has warned bus services will likely fall off a cliff in April if the Bus Recovery Grant is not extended. A leading bus operator said, “The bus sector is hurtling towards disaster.”
Therefore, could you please … urgently … send an email (doesn’t need to be long) to the Government Buses Minister demanding that the Covid-19 Bus Recovery Grant funding is continued beyond April:
BARONESS VERE OF NORBITON (Buses Minister) - email firstname.lastname@example.org
Also we suggest you copy your email to your MP (below are the email addresses of Somerset’s MPs so please cc your MP):
o MARCUS FYSH (Yeovil) - email email@example.com
o IAN LIDDELL-GRAINGER (Bridgwater and West Somerset) - email firstname.lastname@example.org
o DAVID WARBURTON (Somerton and Frome) - email email@example.com
o JAMES HEAPPEY (Wells) - email firstname.lastname@example.org
o REBECCA POW (Taunton Deane) - email email@example.com
Please also copy in Somerset Bus Partnership to any emails too. Our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additionally, if you should speak to candidates for the Somerset Unitary Council May elections, please ask them what their plans are to protect and improve our bus services here in Somerset.
There’s never been a time when our bus services in Somerset have been at so much risk.
Your campaigning can make a difference.
Many thanks for all that you do.
The Somerset Bus Partnership Team.
February 2021 - Peter Travis, Co-Chair of Somerset Bus Partnership and Tony Reese, Co Chair of Somerset Bus Partnership appointed Chair and Co Chair of Somerset County Council's Bus Users & Stakeholder group.
20 January - 110 Somerset Bus Partnership Respresentatives
January 2022 - South Somerset meeting - no You Tube video. PDF slides: