Community News

Bus passengers to face more cuts as a further 42 buses to be axed from April

New on demand WEST link minibus to be introduced in April

Image First Bus

Bus passengers in the West of England are facing more cuts to the service from April – with 42 supported buses to be axed across the region.

Supported services are buses that are not commercially viable but where there is a community need – and local councils pay for them through a transport levy.

This week council leaders in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset voted to reduce the amount of money spent on those buses at a time when the costs to run them have gone up – citing high inflation.

In April, a new on demand WEST link minibus is also being introduced – which will run in Windmill Hill, Knowle, Brislington and St Annes, as well as large parts of North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris blamed the cuts to bus services on the council leaders – saying less money was being invested in the West of England than elsewhere.

He said: “ …It works out at £20 a head here but £36 in Manchester and £63 in Liverpool. Less money from local councils means fewer buses. There is no way of getting round that. 

“I know passengers will be upset not to get the bus services they need and deserve but without more cash from local councils who are the only ones with tax raising powers there is no way of doing more.”

But at a meeting of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) South Gloucestershire Council leader Toby Savage criticised the West of England’s spending on new offices and “over reliance on interim staff” which were often more costly.

He said the council couldn’t simply take money from other reserves to subsidise the buses.

The new WEST link on demand minibus service, which will be launching at the same time as the cuts, was also criticised.

Map showing the Zoes for the WEST link minibus service to be launched in April.

Cllr Tim Rippington who represents Brislington East said demand response transport was mainly designed for “cut off and rural areas” and it would not be a solution in an urban area like Brislington – with a population of over £22,000.

But the Metro Mayor stressed WEST link was not a replacement for supported buses.

He said: It is a new system designed to get people to main transport corridors. I am sure it will be disruptive and there will be teething problems but I hope West Link will provide a much-needed new public transport option to help people get out and about to their destinations.”

WEST link is being funded by the West of England Combined Authority mainly using money secured from government through the Bus Service Improvement Plan.

This money cannot be spent on existing services but must be invested in services that are “innovative and new” and was used last year to reduce bus fares.

The list of services due to be cut in the Bristol area include several in South Bristol:

  • 17 Southmead Hospital to Kingswood
  • 52 Hengrove Park to Bristol city centre
  • 506 Bristol city centre to Southmead Hospital
  • 511 Bedminster to Hengrove
  • 512 Totterdown to Bristol city centre
  • 513/514 Knowle to Brislington
  • 516 Knowle to Hengrove Park
  • 623 Hollywood Lane to Cribbs Causeway
  • 636 Whitchurch to Keynsham
  • 672 Bristol to Blagdon
  • 684 Wick to Keynsham

Other services to be axed across the region include:

  • 179 Bath to Midsomer Norton
  • 185 Paulton to Trowbridge
  • 640 Bishop Sutton to Keynsham
  • 668 Peasedown St John to Bristol city centre
  • 683 Keynsham to Wells
  • 757 Combe Hay to Midsomer Norton
  • 172 Bath to Paulton
  • 178 Midsomer Norton to Brislington Park and Ride
  • 752 Hinton Blewett to Bath city centre
  • 754 Hinton Blewett to Radstock
  • 768 Bath bus station to Radstock and Midsomer Norton
  • 622 Chipping Sodbury to Cribbs Causeway
  • 626 Wotton-under-Edge to Bristol city centre
  • 82 Radstock to Paulton
  • 84/85 Yate to Wotton-under-Edge
  • 634 Tomarton to Kingswood
  • 663 Somerdale to Chandag Road
  • 664 Keynsham to Saltford
  • 665 Somerdale to Longmeadow Road
  • 22 Twerton to Bath University
  • 202 Chipping Sodbury to Winterbourne

These services will run until the end of the school year:

  • 963 Patchway to Bradley Stoke and Winterbourne
  • 948 Pucklechurch to Mangotsfield and Sir Bernard Lovell School
  • 967 Westerleigh to Chipping Sodbury School and Brimsham Green School
  • 680 North Yate to Chipping Sodbury and SGS College Filton