The following news item was released by Gloucestershire County Council on 1st August 2016. Please note that the new route number taking is Chedworth is 78 (was 854) and is operated by Stagecoach from 8th August 2016. You can find the timetable here. You can also find further route information for bus services in Gloucestershire here.
Serving Cirencester and Fairford
Gloucestershire County Council is making changes to certain bus services in the Cirencester and Fairford area from 8th August, including introducing a new service to Cirencester Hospital.
Operating hourly during peak times, the new service 50 will run Monday to Friday, and will follow a circular route to the hospital.
Although a bus service to Cirencester Hospital is currently available, users of this service are dropped off-site and must walk up a fairly steep hill before they reach the hospital buildings, so it is not suitable for people with limited mobility or who require a walking aid.
The new service will stop within hospital grounds, and all journeys will go through town on the way. The service will also offer an improved service for the Beeches Estate, Kingshill Meadow, Preston, Ampney Crucis, Down Ampney, Broadleaze and the Army Barracks to Cirencester.
The service will also have a direct link with Tesco superstore due to customer demand.
Throughout the county, there are other services where the demand from bus users is not enough to cover the cost of running the services.
The cost per passenger of subsidising some services in this way is very high, so changes need to be made to make them affordable. The council has been considering different ways to do this in the Cirencester area following feedback from a public consultation held last year.
The new service 50 and redesigned service 77 will incorporate the services 861, 865 and 78 which were not well used. This way, those who did use those routes will still have transport available.
The current service 854 is also being redesigned to fit better with public demand. The service will run on Mondays and Fridays and follow a route of Winson – Chedworth – Cirencester.
The county council is making a late change that will also take place to ensure a continued service for local people is available through the redesigned service 77.
The county council is aware that there have been issues recently with the current provider of services 74/77, so have been working hard to introduce the new service earlier. From 8th August, the new 77 will mostly cover the two existing services Monday – Saturday, travelling from Cirencester to Highworth.
Part of service 74 between Highworth and Swindon is being withdrawn as that route is served by a frequent commercial service, every ten minutes during peak hours, and few people used the bus to Swindon. Commuter journeys between Cirencester, Fairford and Lechlade will be covered by the new service.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “It is always difficult to make changes to bus services but the county council cannot afford to continue subsidising underused services that are so expensive.
“However, I am really happy to introduce the new bus service 50 for local people to have better access to Cirencester Hospital and am pleased at the quick work of staff to introduce service 77 that will serve people better overall following issues with the current services.”