In these days of increased energy costs and the acute awareness of the climate emergency, it is unsurprising to me that more and more people would like to ditch their cars and turn to public transport to get around. 

Well, they would if we had a decent and reliable public transport service that can be relied upon, but from what I am reading online and in my personal experience, it’s obvious to me that we don’t!

I’m talking of course, about the No 55 bus service that Stagecoach operate, which is supposed to run every 20 mins between Swindon and Chippenham via Calne! For the majority of the Covid pandemic and lockdowns that service was reduced to every 30 mins and for a while that was understandable, but Covid restrictions have been lifted for over a year, yet Stagecoach  only re-introduced the 20 min service at the end of October!

Not that it has improved the service in any way! The buses are still late, they are still regularly cancelled without notice and when they do turn up, they are often a single decker or are standing room only! 

Whilst I am not a regular daily user of the bus, the times I have used them, they have never been on time, even before Covid, and on recent occasions were cancelled or simply didn’t exist.

On a recent trip to go out for Sunday lunch, the bus was cancelled, and my partner and I had to get a taxi otherwise we would have lost the booked table. Another time a family member had to be called to collect us back from Studley at 10pm as the bus simply didn’t show up, and we didn’t fancy that walk in the dark! 

This very week, the one bus we wanted was cancelled, but thankfully the previous service was running 35 minutes late, so we got that one, but it was a single decker!

Our experiences will appear, insignificant 1st world problems to many of you, but if that’s the experience when we don’t use the service that often, what is the real experience of those of you who really do rely on the service day in day out, to get to work, hospital appointments or to go to school? 

Is the service really as bad as my experience and social media posts would have me believe? 

Are you regularly late for work, school or have you missed a train or hospital appointment because of the poor bus service? I want to hear from you. 

2 thought on “On The Buses”
  1. It’s not just the 55 bus that is an issue. The Stagecoach bus that is relied upon by children attending Abbeyfield School from Calne, otherwise known as 842, does not show. This morning being the 15th of November. I had my 13-year-old daughter ring me 20 mins past the time her bus was meant to be collecting the children to say no bus. 15 mins had passed and I spoke to her again to find out it had not shown. So I made the decision to take her in myself. In turn, this made my son 45 mins late for his new school over at Cricklade. This, In turn, made me 20 mins late to collect my youngest from school after only being in for his 1-hour time slot. As you would know the weather on this day had been horrendous in the morning. It’s not acceptable. When you rely on public transport to get you from a-b and are on time it does not happen. I had a problem like this coming back from Swindon. It took for me to complain to the bloke sorting the buses to get a bus put on to get to Calne to collect my children from school. I had already by this point stood around for an hour. Watching all the other buses come in, and go out with a new driver but nothing for Chippenham. No explanation. No sign to say the buses were only running set times. People talking about getting taxis and sharing the price. Just to get home or to work. Stagecoach needs to be held responsible for the lack of communication and poor service. For small towns and villages between Swindon and Calne public transport is all we have as there are not many taxis around to help support the lack of buses. Can’t catch a train without going a town over. That’s transport or a 2-and-a-half – 3-hour walk, which is 15 to 20 mins down the road by a vehicle of any sort. I’m pleased to read that someone with a stand is looking out for the small people in the towns that need this transport, who rely on it to get out and about. From all walks of life and age. Thank you.

  2. Sunday 13th November, my husband and I were trying to return to Calne from Swindon in the evening. The half past five bus never arrived and the six o’clock was cancelled, meaning we would have to wait until 7 pm which was too late for us and our dogs. We had to get a taxi home.

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