Replacement bus service to take over axed 51

The 51 bus service which is being withdrawn by Wessex due to financial reasons from  September will now be taken over by First Bus.

Two years ago First axed the service – which was saved after a huge public campaign when Wessex Bus stepped in to run it. First will now take it over again and run it as a 2A service with reduced hours.

The route from the city centre through Broad Walk and Knowle to Hengrove Hospital will now run Monday to Fridays only from 6.30am to 7.30pm.

A spokesperson from Rotala said: “Rotala Plc recently announced that we are closing our Wessex Bus business in the Bristol and Bath areas from 2nd September 2018.

“The Cheltenham & Gloucester Omnibus arm of Stagecoach will be taking on seven of our current bus routes from this date. Remaining services have either been lost in recent tender rounds or have been deregistered.”

Lyn Caple who has campaigned for better public transport to Knowle West in the past and fought to save the 89 service said: “I don’t know why they want to do it to this area, everything gets taken away from us – they don’t listen to the public…”

First Bristol Managing Director James Freeman said: “Our new 2A service will ensure that passengers who used to use Service 51 will still have a bus service from Monday 3rd September, providing connections to the Broadwalk Shopping Centre, Wells Road, Temple Meads and the City Centre.

“Service 2A will operate on Mondays to Fridays in the first instance; if enough people use it, we may be able to expand the service in due course.”

Bristol City Council cabinet member for transport and connectivity, Councillor Mhairi Threlfall, said maintaining key bus routes in this part of the city was crucial to connect people to jobs, homes and community facilities.

“…We will continue to work with First and monitor the new 2A service closely and hope to see a good up-take of local passengers which would help extend the services to evenings and the weekend.”

First will operate Service 2A on an entirely commercial basis and will not receive any financial support from Bristol City Council.