PORLOCK parish councillors took a trip on the 10A bus from Porlock to Minehead to experience the journey first-hand and talk to passengers about the service’s survival.

The journey followed their pledge to keep the lifeline service going after present funding runs out next March.

Councillors lined up at a village stop on Wednesday, November 16, to board the 9.38am service, now combined with the 101 Minehead town bus, to link Porlock with the town’s hospital and supermarkets

“We wanted to talk to passengers about what we are trying to do to keep this essential service running,” said parish council chairman Malcolm McCoy.

Bus operator First Group will finance and operate the service until next month and Porlock Parish Council and Minehead Town Council have agreed to fund the service equally until the end of March, sharing the cost of £3000. 

The councils must by then have found a permanent way of making the service profitable.

“To fully fund a viable service would cost around £13,000 per year,” Cllr McCoy said. 

Somerset County Council say they have no money to support it, although they recognise that this goes against their policy to combat rural isolation and loneliness, and foster well-being.”

He said the parish council was considering increasing its parish rates precept to cover a £6,000 share of the cost, which would roughly mean an additional £8 on a Band D property – the equivalent of two bus journeys to Minehead. 

If the remaining £7,000 could not be found, the bus service would cease.