South Petherton ......a market town with a village feel

Good morning,

I am writing to advise you of changes to the replacement bus services we put in place last October/November when Nippybus ceased trading in and around the Martock area.

At the time we replaced the N6 Demand responsive bus service which linked the villages North, West and South of Martock to South Petherton and Martock to access local services and for onward travel to Yeovil via either service 81 from South Petherton or service N9/N9A from Martock to Yeovil. In addition we also replaced the N9/N9A Martock to Yeovil service.

At the time there were no resources available to replicate the Demand Responsive N6 service with a like for like replacement so we provided a new conventional bus service 633 operated by Hatch Green Coaches between Puckington and Martock once a day Monday to Friday. Whilst this service provided a link to South Petherton and Martock for most of the villages it left both Long Load and Long Sutton without a replacement and being a fixed timetable as opposed to Demand Responsive, it was not flexible enough to deal with medical appointments or provide reasonable access for onward travel to Yeovil.

We are now in a position to provide a timetabled bus service in the Ilminster area using our in house fleet which will allow us to move the additional Slinky bus currently operating in the Ilminster area over to Martock to provide a Demand Responsive Service in the same area as the previous Nippybus Demand Responsive service.

Unfortunately, unlike in the Ilminster area, we have no records of the registered users of the previous Nippybus service so we will have to build up the passenger numbers again. We would appreciate the assistance of parishes with promotion of the restoration of a Demand Responsive service in the area, so that residents can register to use the service once again.

To start with we will operate the service on a first come first served basis, but as passenger numbers grow we may want to target the service in certain areas on certain days of the week as we do with other Slinky bus services in the County to ensure that all residents in the area have access to the service. The Slinky service will be operated by SSVCA from their Yeovil base using a vehicle provided by Somerset County Council and will commence on Monday 3 September 2018 when the 633 service operated by Hatch Green Coaches will be withdrawn. The towns and villages served will be the same as previously served by Nippybus, these are:

Barrington
Shepton Beauchamp
Westport
Seavington St. Mary
Seavington St. Michael
Lopen
Over Stratton
Westport
South Petherton
East Lambrook
Stembridge
Hambridge
Kingsbury Episcopi
Muchelney
Long Load
Long Sutton
Bower Hinton
Martock
Norton Sub Hamdon
Stoke Sub Hamdon
Tintinhull
Chiselborough

The service will operate on Monday to Fridays between the hours of 0900 and 1700 and after registering to use the service bookings can be made by contacting SSVCA at least 24 hours in advance on 0844 800 9646 Monday to Friday between 0900 and 1700. English National Concessionary Bus Passes will be accepted for travel on this service at all times.

In addition to the restoration of a demand responsive service we have also re-tendered the 52 service currently operated by The Buses of Somerset between Martock and West Coker via Yeovil into two separate services. I can confirm that South West Coaches have won the tender to provide the 52 between Martock and Yeovil from Monday 3 September 2018. The service will continue to operate Monday to Saturday with the timetable being based on the current Saturday service with the last journey adjusted to provide a return time from Yeovil at 1730. I have attached a copy of the timetable for service 52.

Kind regards

Kim Hawes
Public Transport Manager
Transporting Somerset
01823 358139