Local bus routes saved after council investment

A deal to save three local bus routes has been announced – following negotiations between Bristol City Council and First Bus.

The 36, 91 and 96 routes – earmarked for potential service reductions – will continue to operate as normal, providing much needed transport links to communities in the east and south of the city – including Knowle West.

An investment of £60,000 from the council will secure the routes for three months – while the authority works with First Bus and other transport partners to put in place longer term services for the area.

The routes, which collectively serve areas such as Knowle, Filwood. Hartcliffe and Brislington had seen reductions in use.

This investment coincides with the announcement of a new bus deal for the city which aims to encourage bus use across Bristol.

Councillor Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “We put a high value on local bus networks because of the vital role they play in connecting communities and delivering opportunity for residents across the city.

“Getting people to jobs, education, family, friends, and appointments – for many the local bus network is a lifeline that ensures they can go about their daily life.

“We’ve taken this step to invest in saving these routes because we want to find sustainable solutions for local transport in these areas but don’t think residents using these routes should suffer any loss of service whilst we do that.”

He said the new bus deal would look to “deliver better, more reliable commuter  journeys across the city” and “provide more reasons for people to jump on the bus.”

“We will continue to work closely with local bus providers to find solutions that secure the future of services and ensures operators aren’t being expected to run loss-making routes.”

James Freeman, Managing Director, First West of England, said: “As an organisation providing a vital service in the community, it is very difficult to have to make hard commercial decisions about bus routes when they are not well used because we know it will impact those customers who rely on them. 

“We are therefore very pleased that we have been able to work with the Mayor’s Office to secure this funding while we find possible longer term solutions to the challenges on these routes.”