Skip to content

Four at risk bus routes safeguarded after Council and Buses of Somerset reach agreement

  • by

Press release
For immediate release

Four at risk bus routes safeguarded after Council and Buses of Somerset reach agreement

Somerset Council and First Bus South which operates Buses of Somerset have reached an agreement to ensure four routes in the county can continue to run for another year.

The four services, 58, 54, 28, and 25 were at risk of being stopped or reduced due to low passenger numbers. Last autumn, Somerset Council stepped in with Government money to keep the routes running and launched a campaign to drive up passenger numbers.

The campaign achieved some success, with more passengers using the services, but not enough to negate the ongoing need for financial support.

However following talks, Buses of Somerset and Somerset Council have reached an agreement to keep the services running until the end of March 2025. The 54 and 25 will continue to be supported using Government funding from the Bus Service Improvement Grant (BSIP Plus), provided by Somerset Council, and Buses of Somerset has agreed to run the 58 and 28 services without subsidy.

Buses of Somerset will continue to run and promote the services for a further year while working with Somerset Council and Somerset Bus Partnership to maintain an ongoing campaign to encourage bus use.

In summary:

  • Services 54, 58 and 58a all remain unchanged.
  • Service 25 from Dulverton – Wiveliscombe – Taunton will continue to serve all points of the route, but in order to ensure the service remains viable, the timetable will see some changes. Some daytime journeys will divert on the Service 28 through Cotford St Luke and North Fitzwarren at certain times of the day, these will be renumbered 28a.
  • Service 28 will be revised, including some direct journeys between Taunton and Minehead, with an express service to Butlins numbered X28, which will operate Mondays to Fridays. Following feedback from stakeholders, the evening services will be retimed to align with trains serving Taunton station.

Further detail on the changes will be announced shortly.

Councillor Richard Wilkins, Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Transport and Digital said: “We’re really pleased to be able to make this announcement today, after long and detailed negotiations. We know how important these services are for people and we’ve recently seen the strength of feeling around ensuring they are protected.

““Passenger numbers have been rising, which is positive, this trend still needs to continue to ensure the long-term future of the routes.

“The message to everyone is please do keep using and valuing these services, and we will continue to work with Buses of Somerset and Somerset Bus Partnership to promote bus travel.”

James Eustace, Commercial Director at First Bus South which operates Buses of Somerset, added: “Reducing or withdrawing services is the last thing we want to do, so we’re delighted to have found a solution with Somerset Council that allows the four routes to continue to run. While running these services remains commercially challenging, we understand how valued the services are, which is why we’ve agreed to support the local community and continue to run the 28 and 58 routes without financial assistance.

“However, we need to be clear that for buses services to continue operating in the long term they need to continually be commercially sustainable and cover their cost of operations. We will continue to work closely with the Council and Somerset bus user groups to encourage more people to use the bus.”


Skip to content