COUNTLESS bus passengers across Salisbury were stranded at bus stops last week after Wilts and Dorset struggled to cope with the crowds leaving Stonehenge after the summer solstice celebrations.

The event attracted more than 20,000 people to Stonehenge, and Wilts and Dorset, who recently introduced massive price increases on all tickets across the city, provided a number of buses to transfer people away from the English Heritage site after the sun rise.

As a result, bus services across the city were at breaking point with passengers complaining of over-crowded buses, late services, and buses not turning up at all.

Marion Cross, a passenger from Salisbury, said: "I got to the bus stop on Wednesday morning at 8.20am and usually a bus comes along every ten minutes. But, this time, it took more than 30 minutes for one to arrive.

"Even then it was full and could not allow any passengers on board."

Eventually, Ruth Wright, another one of the exasperated passengers at the Coronation Road bus stop, decided to call Wilts and Dorset's customer care line to find out if a bus would arrive.

She said: "I was told they were experiencing a shortage of drivers because they had all been diverted to Stonehenge.

"I understand the Solstice is a big deal for many visitors to this area but I do not think it is right to put transporting tourists above the needs of people who live and work here and keep the city going for the other 363 days of the year."

However, Chris Harris, a public relations manager for Wilts and Dorset, denied normal services had been re-routed.

He said: "The Solstice buses were winding down by 7am and everything should have been back to normal by peak rush hour time.

"However, because of the Solstice, there was a great deal of traffic in the area and some services may have been affected. I apologise for any inconvenience but this was a one-off event."