Wiltshire Publications

New eco-friendly E-Bus proposal to link Westbury and Frome

Story posted on

BOTH Westbury and Frome could benefit from a new eco-friendlier bus service thanks to a proposal discussed by the Vision for Westbury (VFW) committee late last month. 

The new Mellor Orion E-Bus would run on electricity and is the first of its kind to be specifically designed for the kinds of roads found on routes in Westbury and rural inter-urban routes such as Westbury-Frome. 

The proposal would see the acquisition of four new buses, with three in operation at any one time. 

Phil McMullen is the project coordinator for Westbury Neighbourhood Plan and is Westbury Town Council’s representative on the independent consultative committee, Option 24/7 which is submitting a proposed bus service improvement plan to Wiltshire Council. 

Speaking at the VFW meeting, Phil McMullen said, “The idea is that it takes the current Westbury town bus services (45 and 47) – which only really exist to get people to and from the town centre – and run them out to Westbury Station, then to Frome Station and then back around to Westbury through the villages as well, to do a circuit.” 

The bus has a 120-mile range on a single charge, with a rapid charging facility, that would be used each time it enters the depot in Frome. It is fully wheelchair accessible from both the side and back, comes in a 23-seat version and is also manufactured in the UK, therefore qualifying for Department for Transport funding. 

The estimated costs of this could rise to £80,000 per annum – but the current service currently costs Wiltshire Council £92,000. Phil McMullen added, “We’re hoping they see it as a no brainer.” 

This new development would tie into the town council’s Neighbourhood Plan as they are looking to connect the surrounding town to create a “15-minute city”. This idea would connect neighbouring towns and villages, linking services and promoting businesses in order to drive traffic and business to the local area. The focus is on getting people to use local services more, rather than reverting to online or bigger towns. 

The council agreed to work closely with Phil McMullen and take the proposal to the town council’s highways, planning & development (HP&D) committee to investigate and research the option further. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *