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Bus it with a volunteer from Marlborough
Volunteer bus drivers could be used to get Marlborough commuters to rail stations at peak times, it has been suggested.
The subject of the difficulty of getting to work in distant towns by public transport was discussed at last week’s Marlborough area board meeting in Aldbourne’s memorial hall.
Dr Sam Page of Transition Marlborough told the meeting that young people are leaving the town because it is impossible to find work locally and getting to Newbury, Reading, Bristol or London without a car and in time for a 9am start is out of the question.
She said: “Marlborough’s current public transport system is not joined up and thus cannot support commuters at peak times.
“This lack of planning is disadvantaging our community by restricting job opportunities for people who do not have cars, especially the young.”
The majority of Marlborough commuters who do use the train travel into Reading and London from Great Bedwyn station, and Wiltshire Council is planning to cut the services to and from the station as part of their budget-cutting exercise.
Coun Richard Gamble, Wilt-shire Council’s portfolio holder for public transport, told the meeting that the service between Marlborough and Great Bedwyn was currently costing the council £80,000 a year, or £4 per journey, as so few people used it during the day. So the plan was to cut the current two buses down to one.
Ian White, Wiltshire Council’s head of service passenger transport, said people consulted about the cuts had suggested running a community bus service between Marlborough and Great Bedwyn at peak travelling times, using volunteer drivers.
He said: “It would better serve the needs of passengers, especially when trains are late, and a community bus could pick up and drop off people at their own homes.”
He said that Devizes-based voluntary sector group Community First is launching an initiative called Accelerate, which will assist existing community transport groups and help establish new ones, on June 9, and the suggestion could be taken up with them.