TWO councillors said the public transport service “is failing to serve the needs” of Chard and are asking for improvements.

Somerset Council opposition lead member for Transport and Digital, councillor Diogo Rodrigues, said Chard residents are dealing with an “unreliable bus service”, while councillor Connor Payne added that the service “needs significant and urgent improvement”.

The councillors are now calling on Somerset Council “to do more to improve the transport infrastructure”.

Cllr Mike Rigby, lead member for transport and digital at Somerset Council, said the current administration “has stabilised the bus service” and “saved under-threat services”.

Cllr Rodrigues also said: "It’s disappointing to hear that, as with much of the county, people in Chard are having to make do with an unreliable bus service which is failing to serve the needs of the local people.

“It’s completely incomprehensible that a town of this size does not have a Sunday bus service - if you plan to get on a bus to visit friends or family on a Sunday then you’ve got no chance and that is simply not right.

 “Somerset Council have directed thousands of pounds of Government bus funding to the County Town of Taunton, funding residents there to get on busses for only £1, funding evening bus services for Taunton residents to go in and out of town and funding a brand-new bus station in Taunton Town Centre.

“That’s great for Taunton but, places like Chard are given barely a thing and residents here are forced to carry on putting up with the abysmal transport offering.”

“It's clear that Somerset Council need to do more to improve the transport infrastructure for the people of Chard, and I commend Councillor Payne for his efforts to raise these issues on behalf of the residents.”

Both councillors also visited the potential site for Chard Parkway - along the lines of Bristol Parkway or Tiverton Parkway, which could serve the nearby villages and provide means of onward travel to Chard and other nearby towns.

Cllr Payne, opposition lead member for Environment and Climate Change said: “Transport in Chard needs significant and urgent improvement - as of now, poor transport damages the livelihoods of students, and commuting workers and impacts greatly on the local economy.

"As a regular bus user, I know the challenges faced by those who rely heavily on the service. It is infrequent and journey times are too long. We can do better.

"Better bus and rail connectivity would lift Chard's businesses, and residents, and improve the impact on our environment for generations to come."

Cllr Rigby said: “It’s frankly bizarre that having run down transport offerings as well as all the other council services during their 13 years in charge, that Conservative councillors now complain about bus services.

“You reap what you sow. Thankfully, since being elected, this Liberal Democrat administration has stabilised the bus service, saved additional, under-threat services and is now building them back, most recently with a night bus service between Chard and Taunton.

“Despite the poor situation that we inherited from the Conservatives, we’ll continue to build back bus usage, as we have done over the last 12 months.”

Cllr Rodrigues and Cllr Payne are also asking for a safe cycle route between Chard & Tatworth and recently visited the potential site for Chard Parkway which could serve the nearby villages and provide means of onward travel to Chard and other nearby towns.