8 February 2024
RMT Press Office:
Bus workers union, RMT condemned First Bus for cutting vital bus routes in Yeovil, ahead of a demonstration against the plans on Saturday.
The multi-million-pound company which is part of First Group, will stop running 54 and 58/58A services at the end of March.
The bus company also plans to make cuts to the 25 and 28 services.
Passenger groups had previously warned any such cuts with several elderly people expressing despair at being trapped in their own locality and not able to move freely across the town.
Somerset Bus Partnership will be holding a rally in support of the 25, 28, 54 & 58 services at 11am on Saturday at The Borough bus stop, near 17 High Street, Cafe Nero, Yeovil.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "These bus cuts are a disgrace and have come about as a direct result of bus deregulation and privatisation.
"Services are run on a purely commercial basis by private operators, with routes deemed non-profitable, subject to cuts, such as Yeovil.
"Unless the local authority can afford to subsidise them, then the route is lost or severely reduced, leading to major restrictions on the ability of people to travel and possible job losses.
"The only way forward for bus workers and passengers is local authorities need sufficient ring-fenced funding from the government so they can deliver the bus services their communities require via a publicly owned municipal bus company that also owns its buses and depots.
"We stand in solidarity with the campaigners in Yeovil protesting against these bus route cuts."
In the last decade, the bus sector in England (outside London) lost 15,000 workers (13%) and there were around 600 million fewer annual journeys made by bus passengers. The Government’s national bus strategy, published in 2020, has failed to reverse the decline in the sector.