A BUS service linking Melksham with Bath is being axed by the firm that runs it.

First West of England is pulling the plug on the D3 on April 4.

It says the service has failed to cover its own costs for some time and, despite a significant increase in usage in the past two years, it is still loss-making.

The evening and Sunday extension of the D3 route beyond Melksham to Devizes, Easterton and Urchfont, which is operated under contract to Wiltshire Council, is also being axed by First from the same date.

James Freeman, managing director of First West of England said: “We are sorry to withdraw this service which has been operated continuously for decades.

“These days there is a second operator on this route and the economic reality is there is not enough business for both the service operated by Faresaver and our own D3. Sadly, something had to give.”

The firm says no jobs will be lost. Customers with season tickets that expire after April 5 will be entitled to a full refund of the unexpired part of their tickets.

Vice-chairman of Melksham rail user group, Graham Ellis said: “A big concern is Faresaver runs six days a week, not seven and the last bus is around 6pm from which the D3 would have taken over with five more services in the evening.

“A later bus may well be subsidised by Wiltshire Council but we shall have to wait to see what it decides to do.

“Faresaver may add more buses to cover it but we shall see. We’re going to have people who’re disappointed so we need something that works for the community otherwise Melksham does not have a service into Bath."

Daniel Pickford co-owner for Faresaver buses, said: “We stepped into the service for Bath to Melksham and Devizes in 2010 which was approved.

"D3 has been cancelled which is not a surprise. As far as the gaps in the services we’re hoping to enhance the X72 to fill the gaps." Mr Pickford said a replacement evening and Sunday service is in the pipeline.

"We'll put updates on our social media as and when we have them," he said.

There will be a public meeting today (February 7) at the Canberra Centre, Spa Road in Melksham at 7pm.