BUS passengers travelling to Great Western Hospital will face changes to services in the New Year after NHS funding comes to an end.
Service 30, between Walcot East and GWH, is being withdrawn and service 24, which travels between Blunsdon and GWH, is being replaced by a new service 12 which will not provide an evening service to the hospital.
The changes are being made in response to passenger usage as well as the ending of NHS funding for bus services to GWH, which was only provided for a period of 10 years after the new hospital was built.
Thamesdown Transport services in the rest of Swindon will also be affected included service 20b, which travels between Greenbridge and the bus station, which is being withdrawn.
Paul Jenkins, managing director of Thamesdown, said: “We carried out an in-depth review of our network with the help of external consultants and the changes reflect current levels of passenger demand. This has meant some reductions to services at quieter times such as early morning, or on Saturdays. It has also resulted in some new facilities.
“We don’t make such changes lightly as we appreciate that many of our passengers are regulars and rely on us for travel around Swindon. In the majority of instances, passengers whose services or stops have changed have alternatives available to them within a reasonable distance.”
In 1999 as part of the redevelopment of the new hospital, the GWH NHS Foundation Trust agreed to subsidise a number of bus routes, via a section 106 agreement, for 10 years.
A spokesman for GWH said: “Funding was provided at that time through non-recurring funds made available to the Trust to help with the transfer from the old Princess Margaret Hospital to the GWH until the new hospital was fully established. The hospital opened in 2002 and therefore towards the end of this year, the original 10 year agreement is due to come to an end.
“We have a regular dialogue with Thamesdown to support them in providing adequate public transport to and from the hospital on the routes with highest demand and this dialogue will continue.
“Not all of the services due to come to an end by Thamesdown are ones previously subsidised by the Trust. Some are commercial routes and decisions about halting or changing them are decisions for the bus company and are not influenced by the agreement in place between the Trust and the council coming to an end.”
The changes to the Thamesdown service routes and timings, which come into effect on January 6, will also see alterations to service 16, which travels between Fleming Way and GWH and service 20, which travels between the bus station and GWH.
Other services affected include service 11, 13/14, 15/15a, 17, 19/19a, 22, 27, 29 and 153.
For more information visit www.thamesdownbus.com, or pick up a leaflet on the buses or from the Travel Shop in Fleming Way.