MORE than 1,200 people in three days have signed a petition against bus services cuts in the Wiveliscombe and West Somerset areas.

The online petition was launched by Somerset Bus Partnership after First Bus South announced it was likely to reduce the frequency of the No 25 and 28 services in April.

The company said it could not keep the services running as they were without subsidies from Somerset Council.

However, the council, which is using a Government grant to support the buses until March 31, said it does not have the funds.

Despite recent increases in passenger numbers First Bus said the routes were still unviable without subsidies and it also planned to axe two buses serving South Somerset for the same reason.

The No 28 service which runs from Taunton to Minehead via Williton, Watchet, and Dunster, would reduce from half-hourly to one every 45 minutes.

And the No 25 from Taunton via Milverton and Wiveliscombe to Dulverton would become a three-hourly service, with a spur to Langley Marsh axed completely.

A spokesperson for the bus partnership, which also organised a protest rally in Yeovil on Saturday (February 10), said “For many of us in Somerset the bus services numbered 25, 28, 54, and 58 are more than just numbers.

“They are our lifelines to hospital appointments, college classes, or school days.

“They carry us to work and bring us home again.

“These buses are not just about transportation, they are about maintaining our quality of life.

“This is not just a personal issue for us but for all who depend on these routes daily.”

The spokesperson said research by an independent public transport consultancy showed bus service cuts could lead to social isolation and disadvantage.

They said: “It is not difficult to see how this applies here in Somerset, where many rely heavily on these bus routes.

“We cannot let this happen.

“We need support now, more than ever before.

“Let us stand together as a community and save our vital bus services - the number one need for many residents of Somerset.”

The petition is here.