Mayor’s column 5 July

Having recently reached the grand old age of 60 years I was looking forward to getting a few perks. “Hey Rich, you can get your bus pass now!” was a common refrain. “Yes,” I thought, “a bus pass, brilliant.” But alas, I now need to be of state pension age, which for me is another 6 years. However I can still get a Senior Rail-card, which for £30 will get me 1/3 off rail fares to travel across the whole of Britain. What to do?

Public transport options can be quite confusing and seemingly unfair. For example, if I lived in London, I could now travel free on buses, tubes and other public transport. If I lived in Wales or Scotland I could get a free bus pass too. In Frome, Somerset County Council is responsible for buses, but other bus and transport providers offer their own loyalty schemes. Buses are infrequent – or unreliable. Some bus stops are sign posted; others are not – why not? No wonder so many buses travel empty!

To help you and me make sense of public transport, Frome Town Council and Frome and Villages Bus User Group (FAVBUG) have got together to produce an easy to read leaflet of bus times from Frome Market Place. We can print off a timetable for you at the Town Hall or at our Discover Frome Information Point in the Black Swan at a cost of 10p. Alternatively everything you need to know is here: www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/frome-directory/public-transport. For instance, did you know that there are now regular half hourly buses to Bath?

This week is Catch the Bus Week www.catchthebusweek.co.uk. A nationwide campaign aimed at raising awareness of the benefits of taking the bus. Why don’t you catch the bus for a change? If we use it we might not lose it.