WILTSHIRE Council has announced more cuts to bus services as it looks to save £500,000.

The 70a and 72a evening services from Marlborough to Swindon will no longer run after a final journey on August 14.

Services in the Great Bedwyn area will operate a reduced frequency and the Connect2Wiltshire Pewsey to Devizes service, which was revised last year, will also be cut back.

In a statement the council said it had been able to retain 97 per cent of the services following last year’s consultation and pointed out it subsidised half the bus mileage in the county to the tune of £4.5 million because it was not commercially viable.

Bridget Wayman, cabinet member for transport said: “We had a huge response to the consultation last year. It really showed how much people value their local buses, and I am grateful to everyone who took the time to take part.

“The information we had really has helped us, and we continue to buck the national trend by safeguarding the services people really need.”

Kate Freeman of Devizes Passengers, was critical of the Connect2Wiltshire consultation.

“I’m critical of the consultation both in terms of the information provided and in terms of the duration. It should be a minimum of six weeks. I’ve had very little time to study it,” she said.

She also accused the council of failing to market the Devizes to Pewsey rail link adequately.

Few people knew about it and if user numbers were low why did the council not promote it properly, she questioned.

“Hardly anyone from Devizes knows about it and it should be common knowledge. It isn’t.”

As a result the link was not able to help the service as a whole.

Devizes MP Claire Perry, who was at the launch of the Connect2Wiltshire service in March last year, said: “ I know how important our bus services are for many people across the Constituency and I’m really pleased that 97 percent of passenger journeys have been saved.

“The local Connect2 team led by Dawn Wilson from Pewsey have worked so hard to develop and promote the Connect2 service of which I’m a regular user in the Pewsey Vale. It saddens me that all too often that I am the only passenger on board, and I would urge people to contribute to the consultation, but most of all to use this brilliant service, before it is too late.”

The existing Connect2Wiltshire timetable is online at connectingwiltshire.co.uk/bus/connect2wiltshire/ while the consultation and proposed timetable can be accessed at wiltshire.gov.uk/transport-consultations