On Tuesday 13th September, Full Council will host campaigners and residents celebrating their success in saving the 51 bus. Over 3,500 local people signed the petition to save the service, which will be presented to Full Council next week1.
The 51 bus may be saved for now, but sadly the fight is not over. The 51 is just one of many council-subsidised bus routes that could be at risk in coming months as the council reviews all the bus services it subsidises. Twenty local bus services2, which receive subsidies from the council, will be reviewed
Green Councillor for Redland, Martin Fodor said
“Local people only have until the end of September to feed into the supported bus consultation3 and help save routes that are a lifeline for some people. As cuts from central government continue to bite, we are very worried that some routes local people rely on could be at risk. If one of these routes is a route you use and value, now is the time to respond to the consultation by the 30th September deadline to make sure your voice is heard!”
Most bus routes across the city are run commercially to make a profit, but there are some services which the council subsidises as they are socially necessary. These include routes to hospitals or those that enable local people to get to the shops. They also include orbital routes and extended hours which get council funds. All these council-subsidised services will be reviewed by the council.
Councillor Fodor continued:
“In my ward we have already lost the number 20/520 in earlier cuts, which provided a crucial link to the BRI. The 8 and 9 (commercial routes) have also been separated making it harder to get from Redland Road to Clifton Village. Many of the newer routes miss out areas which may not be so commercially important, but which local people rely on.”
“We need to accept that buses are more than just a commercial business, they connect the fabric of our community, reducing social isolation, enabling people to get to work, school and local shops and reducing the number of cars on our streets. Users of subsidised routes may be unable to drive, have a family to visit in hospital, or live away from main bus routes and face hills, obstacles, and costs getting around to places others may take for granted”
“I am worried we are underestimating the number of people who depend on these routes. I get regular reports that operators may not log every passenger getting on the buses, waving people with bus passes on. With all budgets being threatened by government cuts everyone needs to speak up and defend such vital services.”
To respond to the public consultation on supported bus services, surveys can be found in local libraries or through the website https://bristol.citizenspace.com/city-transport/public-consultation-on-supported-bus-services/. The deadline is 30th September.
Image: Councillor Martin Fodor filling out the bus consultation
The petition to Full Council can be found here: https://democracy.bristol.gov.uk/documents/g252/Public%20reports%20pack%2013th-Sep-2016%2018.00%20Full%20Council.pdf?T=10
Council subsidised bus routes being reviewed include services on 1,2,5,6,7,24,36,50,51,77,90,505,506,508,511,512,513,514 and 515. A full list can be found here: https://askbristol.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/appendix-a.pdf
The public consultation on supported bus services can be found at: https://bristol.citizenspace.com/city-transport/public-consultation-on-supported-bus-services/