Serving the Forest

Published
25.10.2016

Vital public transport links in the Forest of Dean are being protected following feedback from local people.

Last year, the county council held a public consultation about bus services, and proposed evening and Sunday services 23, 24, 30 and 31 be merged into one service. Following feedback from local residents, the council is taking an alternative approach - protecting these routes with only minor changes.

The only change will be to evening service 24, with the late evening journeys, 11.20pm from Gloucester, and 11.56pm from Drybrook Road, Monday to Thursdays, ending due to a lack of use. On average, three people used these particular services each day.

Gloucestershire County Council is aware of the importance of buses to lots of people in the county, prioritises those services that help those most in need.

The county council pays towards some bus routes in the county where bus fares don't cover the cost of running them. The cost per passenger of subsidising some of these services in this way was very high, with charges of up to £15.76 per passenger per return journey, so changes had to be made to make them more affordable.

In Coleford, services 709 and 738 will be replaced with a brand new service that will run from Symonds Yat and Joy's Green into Coleford on Fridays.

The 701 service will continue to serve communities on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and will be timed to connect with the 707 service to Chepstow. It will also connect with service 35 in both directions, offering Monmouth as an additional destination.

The 707 service will also operate on the current route three days a week, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Service 784, Purton - Newnham - Westbury-on- Severn, is an expensive service to run and is not well used, with only one regular passenger. Therefore, the decision has been made to stop the route. Instead, Lydney Dial a Ride (telephone 01594 843809)will be available to provide people who need transport with a dial a ride service or can signpost local people to a voluntary car service.

There will also be some changes to services in and around Newent. The 677 and 678 are being merged into a new route. It will serve Much Marcle to Glasshouse Inn, which is part of the 677 route, and then continue from Taynton and Tibberton, through to Gloucester. The bus will run two days a week, instead of the two services each running two days a week.

Those who used the 678 to commute will now be able to by using the Stagecoach service 32 that runs along the main road between Newent - Gloucester.

The 643 is being stopped, as the communities it operates in already have other buses serving them. Service 679 will be kept two days a week though, which serves the same places as the 643, but travels all the way to Ledbury, rather than stopping in Newent. The 679 will run on Tuesday and Fridays, on the same route and timetable.

Service 693 will be altered, so it can serve Onslow Road, providing a service into Newent from this area on Mondays and Thursdays.

All service changes will be effective from Tuesday 3rd January 2017.

Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: "I am really pleased to know that we have been able to protect popular and well used services, such as the evening and Sunday services 23, 24, 30 and 31.

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