WILTSHIRE Council has just launched a bus consultation which will end in April with a view to making significant savings. Although the survey states that it is not route specific but only referring to currently subsidised bus routes in general, if respondents do not look at the list of such subsidised routes, they may find it difficult to answer under each category of proposed savings option whether they are directly affected or not, or even bother to complete the survey.

I only found the list on the News page of the Wiltshire Council website and not on other links to the survey.

It appears to me that virtually all regular bus services from and to Marlborough, and probably most of the evening and irregular bus services are included in one category of proposed cut or another: X5, 217, 19, 20 (links to Bedwyn for rail) 21, 22, 46, 48, X76 and 80 (not school buses). They all face being cut completely or reduced to a skeleton service which further deters users.

There is no direct link currently between Marlborough and Devizes – the only two ‘strategic towns’ in Wiltshire not to have a link. On the journey planner mid-morning it gives a time of three minutes shy of two hours going, with a change in Avebury (an hour’s wait), and back through Swindon (one hour 45 minutes). It takes 25 minutes by car – so much for hoping to cut car usage! Marlborough job seekers have to go to Devizes or Swindon, as do those attending FE college, and for most hospital appointments. There is no train station in either Marlborough or Devizes, and both hope to develop their tourist potential especially with the growing interest in Avebury and Stonehenge . Perhaps the consultation should look at adapting or adding new routes, not just at making cuts. Virtually everyone in Marlborough is car dependent, but for the sake of those who can’t afford or are not able to drive, and those concerned about the effect of car dependence on the environment, please respond to this survey.

SUE KNOWLES, Chairman, Marlborough Liberal Democrats