During July and August TransWilts services have suffered an unacceptable level of cancellations. We have made strong representations to GWR regarding solving the underlying causes of the service problems and in the short term providing suitable mitigating action.

The primary cause of cancellations has been driver availability which is always more difficult in holiday periods when levels of leave are higher. This summer the situation has been exacerbated by sickness and a shortage of trained drivers created by the training programmes for the major December timetable introduction.

Resulting cancellations have affected weekend services and the evening commuter service. We do not realistically expect the situation to begin to get better until September. In the meantime GWR are now committing to providing a replacement bus service between Westbury and Chippenham when there are cancellations. The service will be included in the customer service information shown on GWR departure screens and on line information. For example, replacement bus services by Arleen Coaches were provided on 21stAugust with timings below –

Westbury 14:25 16:25 18:40
Trowbridge 14:40 16:40 18:55
Melksham 14:55 16:55 19:10
Chippenham 15:15 17:15 19:30
Chippenham 15:50 18:20 20:35
Melksham 16:10 18:40 20:55
Trowbridge 16:25 18:55 21:10
Westbury 16:40 19:10 21:25

Paul Johnson said “Whilst accepting a replacement bus service is not the same as a train, this replacement bus service is provided to ensure that our passengers can have confidence in being able to travel and get home even if the train is cancelled.”

GWR have stated that “ We are committed to the route, to the CRP, to developing Melksham Station and to getting back to the growth we know the line can sustain. [Whilst] the next few weeks will not be easy…having a clear alternative in the bus service will help and as driver availability eases we should get back to the improved reliable service that we all want for our customers.”

For the latest up to date information please check the GWR website before you travel.