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Hopper Bus Campaign Wheels Are Turning

(May 12, 2015)

Warminster town council last night added their voice to the outcry caused by a county hall decision to withdraw funding from the RUH Hopper bus service.

Independent councillor Paul Macdonald tabled a resolution for debate on Monday calling on Wiltshire Council to think again about the £130,000 cut.

"This is a valuable and vital service for our community that lives 20 miles away from the Royal United Hospital," said Paul.

"It is a door to door service that starts very early in the morning for those appointments that sometimes are set for operation prepping at 7.30am.

"We were told in this room about eight months ago that Wiltshire Council is now almost a billion pound a year business.

"Surely they should be able to find £130,000 somewhere else.

"If we do not act now then we will lose this much needed service in November."

Paul was asking for support for his notice of resolution which read:

'Warminster Town Council strongly urges the unitary authority to reconsider any changes to the RUH (Royal United Hospital) Hopper bus service that is a vital service for our residents living over 20 miles away from this hospital.

'This council further urges Wiltshire Council to re-instate the £130.000, if it has not already done so, that has been cut from the budget that funds this service.

'Further, this council offers to work with Wiltshire Council to seek a mutually favourable outcome for the residents we represent to mitigate their social and wellbeing funding cutbacks for the municipal financial years starting 2016/17.'

Paul added that the hopper bus service starts from Warminster and two other major towns in the county.

"I hope Wiltshire Council will take a look at my constructive suggestion that they should be working with all the major towns and large villages to save the service," Paul said after the meeting.

"I am pleased that the save the hopper bus campaign wheels are now turning faster as a result of the support from six of the eleven other town councillors able to vote.

"It is rare that Warminster town council stand up to Wiltshire Council like this.

"I am disappointed that the outgoing mayor and the incoming mayor both voted against this and that three other Conservatives did not raise their hands in support.

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