Castlewood bus service to end

A BUS service introduced to take North Somerset Council employees to and from the authority’s new Clevedon offices will end in August due to a lack of demand.

The 661 bus service between Yatton’s railway station and Castlewood in Clevedon began in November, when more than 500 of the authority’s staff were moved to the Tickenham Road building.

The contract, set up to run until August at a cost of �37,500, was created in the hope of providing an effective commuter service for those travelling from Weston.

The council also hoped the service would be used by other people to travel between Weston and Clevedon.

The Wessex Connect contracted service has been operating hourly and sometimes every half-hour between 6.35am and 6.50pm Mondays to Fridays.

The contract for this ceases at the end of August and will not be renewed after a review revealed the 661 bus is not being used enough in the middle of the day.

Now, North Somerset Council’s executive member for transport and highways, Elfan Ap Rees, is due to sign off a decision to amend the existing 660 Congresbury to Portishead Wessex Connect service to include Yatton Railway Station and Castlewood.

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When approved, this will see Yatton station and Castlewood served with just two morning journeys and two evening journeys until the end of the current financial year, when the service will be reviewed again.

Councillor Ap Rees said: “Experience has shown there are certain peak periods when it is needed and at other times it is not really picking up any passengers.

“It is costing a lot of money to run and we have to look at all our supported bus services in terms of value for money.

“We will keep the situation under constant review.”

In March, the Times revealed via a Freedom of Information request that following a survey of those staff due to move to Castlewood, only two per cent of respondents said they would prefer to travel by bus.

Despite this, North Somerset Council went ahead with the contract for the Wessex Connect 661 service.