SOUTH Somerset bus campaigners have hit out at Somerset County Council after a response to their transport petition left them with ‘concerns’.

Melissa Whittaker-Mather is the co-lead of Everybody Get On Board, a group which is campaigning to improvements to transport networks in the area.

She said: “The petition was set up to show the need for a better public transportation network in Somerset and request for there to be a stronger focus on the needs of public transportation users.

“We put forward a financing option to support new routes with a hope that rural areas would be “reconnected” whilst potentially supporting the return of evening and weekend services.

“Due to the sustained response of lack of money to support public transportation we felt a financing option was a positive action.”

Natasha Bates, the service commissioning manager for Highways and Transport, and Cllr John Woodman, cabinet member for Highways and Transport, responded.

They highlighted plans to work with Gloucestershire County Council to develop and online transport portal, ThinkTravel.

This will be used to establish demand for journeys.

SCC is also pushing community car schemes and a noticeboard on the ThinkTravel portal.

Mrs Whittaker-Mather said: “We never got a clear response to the finance option.

“We appreciate digital infrastructure has its place however there are people who are not digitally competent nor have access to the internet as the internet connections fluctuate.

“The focus appears to be centred on community and voluntary schemes, many of which are inaccessible.

“The digital notice board raises concerns. Essentially how will it be monitored, and what safeguards are in place.

“People asking for lifts does happen but usually within an established social circle.

“In light of the climate emergency declaration, we would expect public transportation to be considerably higher on their agenda.”