‘Cut-off’ villagers keep up fight to reinstate axed bus route

A CAMPAIGN to bring back a scrapped bus route has received support.

Lee Bennett has been leading the charge to have the public transport link from Swindon to Carterton reinstated because it now takes at least an hour and at least two buses to make the same journey.

The number 64 used to travel 16 miles up the A361 across three counties from Swindon to Highworth to Lechlade and Carterton but got pulled from service in 2016 due to funding cuts, despite a fight to save it.

Mr Bennett wrote to Stratton St Margaret Parish Council asking if they would support a push to have the

He said: “The Lechlade on Thames and Carterton councils have been very supportive and have approached their county and district councils into looking into support for a reinstatement of this service because of the Bus Service Improvement Plans.

“The route alternated in the past, as initially it went right through past the Rat Trap, to Green Bridge then to the centre. Later, it was changed to either go past or go through Kingsdown and Gorse Hill.

“If the proposed route and service is of interest, then the parish councils will possibly need to show their support as well and to Swindon council, so then Swindon council will have a bigger display of demand, want and need.”

He hopes Swindon, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire will cooperate and agree a strategy on service provider, route and funding, and wants to make the route worthwhile and attractive enough to the Swindon borough for the council to help fund it.

Stratton councillors discussed the issue at a meeting earlier this month and agreed that they would show support for this endeavour if the bus route went through Kingsdown Lane, Ermin Street and Greenbridge.

Lee said: “This is very positive and will allow, one would hope, for much needed cross county support, cooperation and cohesion moving forward.”

Previously, a Swindon Borough Council spokesman explained one proposal which would set up a demand-responsive service north-west of Highworth, where vehicles alter their route and journey based on passenger demand without using a fixed route or timetabled journey. 

He added: “We are working with neighbouring local authorities on cross-boundary services where appropriate which would include a Carterton to Swindon service. This plan is still in the process of securing government funding and until that process is over, we cannot comment any further.”

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