Last week, TM's Transport Group hosted an important meeting with transport officers from Wiltshire Council who are responsible for drawing up the new Bedwyn bus timetable. Wiltshire Councillor and Cabinet member, Richard Gamble and Steve Smith from the Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group also attended this meeting. Marlborough's Town Councillors were represented by Shelly Parker, the new Town Clerk.
We wanted the new timetable to be adjusted so that the buses would link with as many trains as possible, with a minimum six minute gap before the train arrives. We were also keen to ensure that bus fares are kept as low as possible, facilities are improved for cyclists and to look into the possibility of laying on extra buses to serve local events, such as the Jazz Festival and MOP Fair.
The Transport Officers explained that the initial funding cut had been reduced from £90,000 per year to just £50,000 per year. This means that after April 21st 2013, the service from Marlborough High Street to Bedwyn station will not begin until 10.05am and the last bus back will leave Bedwyn at 19.50pm on week days.
The 07.05am bus to Hungerford will be retained, however, and this links with the 0734 fast train to Paddington. This means that the following 'asymmetric' journey is possible for commuters who want to leave their cars at home and cut carbon emissions:
|Outward Journey from||Bus departure time (Marlborough)||Bus arrival time (Hungerford)||Train departure time (Hungerford)||Train arrival time (Paddington)|
|Inward journey||Train departure time (Paddington)||Train arrival time (Bedwyn)||Bus departure time (Bedwyn)||Bus arrival time (Marlborough)|
The Transport Officers offered the following valuable concessions:
- £1 only fare would be charged to 'Early Bird' passengers travelling to either Hungerford or Bedwyn before 10am and anyone returning from Bedwyn to Marlborough, who has a valid train ticket.
- The first bus to Hungerford and the last bus from Bedwyn will begin/end in Barton Park.
- WC is willing to lay on extra buses to ferry passengers to and from Bedwyn station during special events, such as the Jazz Festival and MOP Fair.
- Marshals can be provided to enable buses to stop in the town centre during special events.
Councillor Gamble promised to look into the possiblility of installing improved signage, a bus shelter and pull-in, as well as secure cycle racks at Bedwyn station.
WC Transport Officers stressed that the early evening buses may be cancelled after one year if they are not well used.
In order to build passenger confidence, the Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group are requesting that the train company (currently First Great Western) refund taxi fares for passengers who miss the last bus because their train was delayed. TM's Transport Group members are planning to meet with the Bedwyn bus operator to discuss waiting times.