Joy after vital Cirencester bus route saved

A VITAL bus route in Cirencester has been saved following a successful campaign by councillors and campaigners. 

The 58 service which connects Stratton, the Beeches and Chesterton to the town centre and also stops at the hospital, Tesco and Waitrose, was due to end on November 27 as part of countywide cuts by operator Stagecoach.

However, a new provider has been found to take on the route by Gloucestershire County Council

The same route now under Cotswold Green will commence services from next week (November 28) and will operate every 60 minutes from Monday to Saturday. 

Cllr Philip Robinson, GCC cabinet member for bus transport, said the council has been working ‘tirelessly’ to find a replacement service. 

He said: “I promised communities across Gloucestershire that we would work tirelessly to avoid people being left isolated when these routes were cut by Stagecoach. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

“In an extremely challenging context, the team have been able to save 350,000, about 70 per cent of these journeys.”

Campaigners say the 58 service is essential as people rely on it to travel to work, school, hospital appointments and for shopping and leisure activities.

David Prewett, a spokesperson for Cirencester Action on Buses, said the group was ‘delighted’ by the news. 

He said: “We are delighted and congratulate Tom Main, Cllr Phillip Robinson and all at GGC who worked so hard to achieve this tremendous result. 

“They have saved an invaluable bus service for the town.”

CDC councillor for Chesterton Roly Hughes previously said the cancellation was ‘disgusting’ and would cause problems for elderly and vulnerable people who use the route.

“This is fantastic news for the residents concerned,” he said. 

“Having Cotswold Green take over this route is a life saver for all our residents that use the service, not just for Chesterton but for The Beeches and Stratton. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cllr Roly Hughes (middle) with passengers from Chesterton who regularly use the 58 serviceCllr Roly Hughes (middle) with passengers from Chesterton who regularly use the 58 service (Image: Newsquest)

“I just hope people appreciate what has been done for them and hopefully more residents will be encouraged to use the service.

“You never know, Cotswold Green may increase their service to all areas and put on later buses past 2.20pm but we will have to wait and see.”

Cotswold District Council leader Joe Harris said: “This is good news but a long term commitment and safeguard of bus services is needed.” 

Rachel Geliamassi, managing director, Stagecoach West said: “We are pleased that the council has been able to secure alternative operators for a number of routes in Gloucestershire. 

“Bus operators and local authorities have a joint responsibility to our communities – a factor we have made very clear in recent months as we looked to work in partnership to make the best out of a very difficult set of challenges largely outside our control. 

“The fact that no alternative operators have been found to cover nearly a third of affected journeys supports our concerns over the viability of parts of the network which have been exacerbated by external factors driving the current difficult environment. 

“Our local communities are extremely important to us, and we know how vital bus services are to people in our region.

“Delivering a strong bus network in Gloucestershire is a shared responsibility and for our part we will continue to work constructively with stakeholders in the region to maximise the benefit that buses can bring to local people.” 

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