On Tuesday 9th May, BBC Wiltshire dedicated a significant swathe of their breakfast show to discussing bus service cuts, funding and primarily Faresaver’s 33/X33 services between Chippenham, Calne and Devizes.
The initial voxpops with members of the public are fairly excrutiating, i’m not sure that many of the people they spoke to were actually bus users. There was an interview with Melksham Railway aficianado Graham Ellis (also the man behind the misguided Option 24/7 campaign) who split the blame between Faresaver and Wiltshire Council.
Host Ben Prater then spoke with Daniel Pickford of Faresaver (including some pretty weak attempts at heartstring pulling with highlights of the earlier voxpops), who put the business case for the service in an open manner.
Just over 13 minutes in to the highlights, we come to the real gift of the programme – an interview with Councillor Philip Whitehead who represents Urchfont and The Cannings. He has also been serving as Executive Member for Highways and Transport until the recent local elections. You’d hope he would have prepared somewhat for an appearance such as this. Three times during the interview, he quotes the service number of the route between Devizes and Bath as being X25, when it is X72. This is all the more unforgiveable as X72 is also the main bus route serving his constituents and Public Transport has been a key remit of his office on Wiltshire Council. He also goes on to suggest that Stagecoach 49 (Trowbridge – Devizes – Swindon) serves Bath too.
I also struggle to believe that there is a significant number of people who are travelling by public transport from Devizes to Bristol on a daily basis.