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bus stop GillinghamWiltshire Council has been forced to suspend its shoppers bus services from Gillingham and Milton-on-Stour to Frome because of a shortage of drivers.

The 80 and 81 services, and also the 82 service, operated by Frome Bus from Gillingham and Mere to Frome, Trowbridge and Warminster on different days of the week, have all had to be stopped.

The news was given to Gillingham Town Council in a letter from Dorset Council, who warned that the suspended services are ‘unlikely to be reinstated before Christmas’.

The letter from Dorset Council, which was shown to councillors at a full council meeting on Monday, pointed out that the well-publicised shortage of lorry drivers has now extended to the public transport sector.

‘The shortage of HGV drivers is now seriously affecting the bus industry as well, and there is a real risk that bus services may have to be reduced or cancelled at short notice,’ it said.

Councillor Kevin Daley, Wiltshire Council Portfolio Holder for Transport told Gillingham News: ‘Unfortunately due to a driver shortage these services have been temporarily suspended. Usage of these routes has been low since the covid pandemic, possibly because people have preferred to shop locally due to on-going covid concerns.

‘Driver shortages is a nationwide issue and is unlikely to be resolved prior to Christmas. We will be reviewing the situation in the new year, when hopefully there is a clearer indication of the way forward.’

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