In our last website post on this issue and in last month’s Parish Times we described the situation at about half way through September. In brief, residents of Bishopstone, Hinton Parva and Wanborough had flooded the e-mail system of SBC and their Cabinet meeting on 11 September, having heard about the proposal to cancel the No 47 bus, and forced a re-think.
After meetings with SBC, we were able to reassure parishioners at the Parish Council meeting on 7 October that there will be a continuing bus service to Swindon from the Parish.
The Thamesdown No 47 service will cease on Saturday 26 October and a new GoRide No 90 service will start on Monday 28 October. There will be 6 services Monday to Friday from Bishopstone to Swindon bus station and return, and 5 on Saturdays. The timings will be broadly similar to the No 47 timings and we have been assured that Thamesdown Transport will have the new timetable posted at bus stops and will be distributing a leaflet on the bus at least two weeks in advance of the change. A copy of the new timetable is shown below and will be included in the next edition of the Parish Times.
The bus will be a 16 seater, to be operated by a new not-for-profit bus company called GoRide CIC, partly subsidized by West Berkshire, Oxon and SBC. There was some concern expressed that there would not be sufficient capacity on this bus at certain peak times of day, particularly on the first run of the day into Swindon for those going to work and to college. However, GoRide have told us:
“When the 16 passenger limit is reached GoRide’s ‘no passenger left behind’ policy kicks in. This backup plan is triggered when passenger volume boarding in Lambourn exceeds a threshold. (This threshold is to be defined). The exact plan is still to be finalized but on other current GoRide bus routes the backup plan has involved an additional backup bus and/or 8 seater taxis running the bus route.”
The details of this backup plan will be published on the village website ( http://bishopstoneandhintonparva.org/parishcouncil/sample-page/parish-council-news/ ) as soon as they become known to us.
Also at launch and for the first two weeks they will run a second extra morning bus as well, to gauge if this additional capacity is needed longer term and to ensure that passengers get an initial positive experience.
GoRide buses provide change when bus fares are paid at the bus. GoRide buses can be hailed / stopped at any safe location along the route.
If you have a Thamesdown Transport bus pass or season ticket and wish to use the GoRide No 90 service regularly, you will have to obtain a refund from Thamesdown Transport and purchase tickets from GoRide. They do not offer an extended season ticket but sell “Frequent Traveller” books of 10 tickets and will agree a price for anybody who requires more than that, e.g. for the academic year. This does not affect anybody with an OAP bus pass.
The telephone number for GoRide is 0330 330 8489 (this is also shown on the timetable) and this is manned whenever the bus is operating.
GoRide have offered to run a Q&A session in the village at which they will answer questions on the new service and sell tickets. Watch the notice boards and website for further details.
The other change that has been made by SBC and Thamesdown Transport is that the 46A and 48A services will be routed through Upper and Lower Wanborough and the Marsh, to provide transport to and from Swindon for Wanborough residents. They will continue to use a Thamesdown Transport season ticket.