Dear all,
I believe you may already have been contacted with news on the Number 67 bus service between Burnham-on-Sea and Wells/Wookey Hole. If so, this email contains nothing you don’t already know! But just in case…

The service will be subsidised by the county council from the end of December – when Bakers Dolphin’s contract was to end – until 4th March. During that time, I understand that Bakers Dolphin will continue to operate the service on its current timetable. This will have been a very difficult decision for the county council as their finances are extraordinarily tight so I am hugely grateful to Cllrs Graham Noel, David Huxtable and John Woodman for their hard work in lobbying the council on your behalf.

The Council Leader John Osman and his Cabinet Member for Transport David Fothergill have been willing to listen to me, your councillors and the parish councils and I know that they will continue to work with us all as we try to find the most cost effective way to maintain a public transport service on that route. As I said in my previous letter, I see the 67 as a hugely important route connecting the two halves of my constituency and I know how important it is to those who live along the way. My preference is to see it saved in its current form but I am grateful to all those who have emailed with suggestions for how it could be done more efficiently in the future.

I will be meeting with your local councillors, parish councils and the County Council in the New Year so that the discussion over the future of the service can continue. It is great that this further work can be done with the service still in place and that we have a little breathing space in which to make our plans. But I stress that this additional funding is temporary and so whilst we will all be hugely grateful to John Osman and his team for the reprieve, there is still a great deal of thinking to be done as we search for a long-term solution.

I have received correspondence from around 70 people on this issue but I know that along the route, there are many, many more who are affected by the proposed changes. To that end, I would be grateful if you could pass this email to anyone in your community who you know to be affected but who might not have contacted me directly. I propose to write to all residents in the affected communities in the New Year as I seek to understand the scale of the demand and the appropriateness of the other options in order that I have all the information I need to represent you on this important issue.

In the meantime, may I wish you and anyone else who reads this email a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Yours ever,

James [Heappey]

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