BUS boss Adrian Griffiths is giving up the route between Marlborough and the Royal United Hospital in Bath, after he lost a school contract that made it viable.

Mr Griffiths, who owns Ad Rains bus company in Brinkworth, says Wiltshire Council is making it more and more difficult for small operators to make a living.

He said: “ I used to have the contract for St John’s School in Marlborough and then we would fit in the run to the hospital in Bath and back between the morning drop off and pick-up.

“But after I lost the school contract it stopped being viable especially as we were only allowed to pick up from the hospital and the Abbey but nowhere else in Bath.

“Wiltshire Council keeps telling me different things about when the contract will end.”

He said a new company had won the contract but did not know when they were taking over.

He said: “It is very sad because my drivers know the regular customers really well and give them excellent customer service. But it just isn’t worth it. Wiltshire Council favours the big bus companies and makes life very hard for the small operators.”

He said that most of those using the service were pensioners who used bus passes. He has to apply to get the cost of the ticket refunded but 28 per cent of the fare is deducted.

Among those worried about the change and possible loss of the service is Daisy Southend. She said: “I am a pensioner who uses it at least once a month for free. If it stops I would have to pay for a taxi ticket and train fare.”

Bridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council cabinet member said: “A new provider will be taking over the X76 service and more details on this will be available in due course. The route from Marlborough to the RUH will remain the same as before Wiltshire Council does not favour one company over another, regardless of size.”