A BUS operator has announced it will be withrawing its service to the Great Western Hospital due to the severe congestion around the site which causes serious delays to the bus timetables.

Salisbury Reds’ popular X5 bus will instead stop on Marlborough Road, the main road outside the hospital, leaving passengers to walk the rest of the way.

Alex Chutter, operations manager at Salisbury Reds, said: “We decided not to continue serving internal roads at Great Western Hospital because congestion there was causing considerable delays for our customers.

“When we reviewed this service, our aim throughout was to improve reliability for those travelling across the route as a whole.

“Whilst I understand the concerns of those travelling to and from the hospital, I would like to reassure people that it will be accessible to our customers, despite the changes.

“The X5 will continue to stop on Marlborough Road which means our passengers will notice a significant improvement on journey times.”

The Salisbury to Swindon service will still be called X5 and run hourly but the route will change to make it more direct and much quicker.

A spokesman from the GWH said: “We are disappointed to learn that Salisbury Red’s X5 bus service will no longer be stopping at the Great Western Hospital and have contacted the bus operator to share our concerns about how this will impact on patients and visitors.

“We were not contacted by the bus service to discuss their plans and would have ensured they were aware of our work to increase parking spaces for staff which will help traffic flow.

“We are a very busy hospital and our parking team work hard to keep traffic flowing, often directing buses via alternative routes at peak times and directing visitors travelling by car to speed up parking.”

From Sunday September 4, the route will no longer go through Chiseldon but there will also be an improved evening service with buses running until 10.50pm from Salisbury.

A spokesman from Chiseldon Parish Council said: “We were informed last week and we are very sad to hear the news. It’s a real shame to be losing the bus service.

“People have expressed concern and it’s something we will definitely miss, but we don’t want to criticise Salisbury Reds because they have given us a great service over the past six years.”

The bus company has said it is simply responding to demands from customers.

Mr Chutter added: “We’ve listened to the views of those travelling with us and have responded by doing all we can to improve the service and address customers’ comments.”

As a result of the changes, it is predicted that journey times between Salisbury and Swindon will be around 20 minutes faster.

For more details about the forthcoming timetable changes, please visit salisburyreds.co.uk.