BUS services in Malmesbury could be cut or scaled back as Wiltshire Council looks to make significant savings to its transport budget.

The council has announced a review of bus routes to make savings of £120m between 2013-17, which it has been asked to carry out by central government, and is holding a public consultation to investigate which services could be adapted.

The review focuses on bus routes out of Malmesbury, which are heavily subsidised by the council. It is estimated that it costs the authority about £5.1m a year to keep commercially unviable routes running.

Young people are some of the biggest users of buses and nationally 40 per cent of people over the age of 60 use the bus at least once a week, so they will most likely be hit hardest by reductions to bus services.

Councillor Simon Killane of Wiltshire Council is urging young people to get involved in the consultation.

“I had a meeting with the Local Youth Network group in Malmesbury and said to them that they need to get that consultation high profile in local schools; young people have real need for these services,” he said.

“Families and people with cars and jobs are not that affected, it’s the ones without the access to cheap affordable transport that are most at risk. I want people to express their concerns. We need to use the information to influence the outcome and keep the core services people need.”

Ellie Newton, 23, uses the 93 bus daily to get to work in Cirencester from Malmesbury. This is a route that Wiltshire Council has earmarked as one that could be reduced.

Speaking about possible bus service changes she said: “It would depend on what times [are changed] as it’s hard for my manager to give me hours to fit around the buses. The last bus changes mean that I often end up hanging around before I start and after I finish.”

Stuart Causer, 33, said: “I may have to dramatically change my working hours or give up some of my days, as I get the late bus home and it would leave me without transport.

“I don’t think the service running to Swindon or Chippenham needs to be changed, it’s one bus an hour and a lot of the local villages are in need of the services.”

Mollie Reynolds, 16, said: “Having the bus service cut would be a massive inconvenience for me and many of my friends as it’s our only way to and from college.”

Wiltshire Council has raised the idea of extending community transport schemes, which involve volunteer drivers picking people up in minibuses from nearby villages.

Malmesbury Town Council member Gavin Grant said: “Any community transport scheme, which I’m sure will be great, needs to be set up, running and proven before any changes are made to services.

“These schemes are a great addition, but rarely a true alternative, to buses.

“I’m very disturbed to see the way things are potentially going. The fear is Malmesbury will be hit the hardest.

“I know a lot of people feel our bus services are not adequate as they stand.”

Cllr Philip Whitehead, Wiltshire Council's cabinet member for transport, said: “Due to the pressures on local authority spending we [are] under severe pressure to reduce the amount of budget that we spend on subsidising public transport at the level we currently do.

"We are committed to minimising any impact changes might have, especially on vulnerable people.”

Residents can take part in the consultation, which runs until April 4, by picking up copies in council offices, libraries and on buses, by calling 0300 456 0100, or online at wiltshire.gov.uk/news/articles/bus-service-consultation