THE first family to move onto the new Wichelstowe development will soon have their own bus service.

Thamesdown Transport are launching the number 11 bus with a new addition to the route on Monday. But the company may have jumped the gun – because only one family, the Boultons, are living there.

Alison Boulton said she was pleased a bus service would be available for the wider community when it arrives – but rather embarrassed it would only serve her family for the time being.

“We think it’s great that the bus service is starting so that the families that move here will have a service up and running when they arrive to serve the community as it builds,” she said.

But campaigners who tried in vain to save the Groundwell park and ride from closure say the number 11 route is a contradiction of Thamesdown Transport’s green policy.

Sara Spinks, co-founder of the Save Park and Ride Kampaign (Spark), said: “There is only one family living on the site at the moment so until such time as the area builds they won’t even have the custom to fill the bus. It’s such a waste of money.”

The new number 11 service is receiving financial support from Swindon Council, in order to provide the first public transport link into the new Wichelstowe development.

Paul Jenkins, Thamesdown Transport’s managing director, said: “We’re not just relying on the bus fares of people that are living there at the moment. The bus is already running to Wroughton Park and Ride so the cost of extending it to East Wichel is minimal.”

Mr Jenkins said an influx of residents from Sovereign Housing Association are expected soon.

“We think it’s very important that people have the choice of a public bus service from day one,” he said. “Once people have had to find an alternative, persuading them to use a bus can be difficult.”

Swindon councillor Peter Greenhalgh, lead member for sustainability, transport and strategic planning, agreed that it is easier to encourage new residents to use public transport from new developments if the service is up and running when they move in.

He also said he understood the journey through Wichelstowe was only a minor detour from the route. “While I understand it may appear to be at the moment odd to have a bus service serving only one house, there are considerably more houses that will become occupied shortly,” he said.

A timetable amendment leaflet is available from the Thamesdown Travel Shop in Fleming Way and the new timetables are also on-line at