Celebrations as bus company does U-turn

September 07 2016

Celebrations as bus company does U-turn

BUS services linking Bitton and Oldland to Keynsham and beyond have been saved following public pressure.
Hundreds of people attended a meeting to express their concerns about changes by bus operator First, which they said would it difficult for many to get to school or work and would leave some communities isolated.
The new timetables, introduced from September 4, involve dropping the 17A service, which runs between Keynsham and Southmead Hospital, and changing the 37 Bristol to Bath route so it runs through Saltford rather than on the A431.
But following protests, including an online petition set up by resident Scott Salter and signed by 361 people, First has agreed to bring in a new hourly 19A service linking Saltford, Keynsham, Willsbridge and Oldland and to change the 37 back to its original route through Kelston and  Bitton.
Talks are continuing with South Gloucestershire Council about financial support for the 19A, which is set to run hourly between Bath and Bristol Parkway.
The revised services cannot begin until November 13, because First has to give notice to the Traffic Commissioner, so in the meantime, the company has introduced a temporary 19B service from North Common to Keynsham, operating from 10am to 2pm Mondays to Fridays.
Bitton Councillor Erica Williams, chair of South Gloucestershire Public Transport Forum, welcomed the bus company's response.
“I am so pleased that we will soon be concluding negotiations with First to restore bus services to the Oldland and Bitton areas. People living there would have been cut off if the 17A and 37 services had been axed with no replacement. This is why I became a councillor, to work with local people to make our voices heard and to make a positive change.”
James Freeman, managing director of First West of England, said bus service changes were needed to improve punctuality and reliability and to ensure financial sustainability and were made following consultation with passengers.
He said: “Following a number of recent public meetings First Bristol and our partners in the council took another look at the planned changes, and we were able to identify ways to address some concerns raised.
“We know how important it is to listen and consider people's opinions, which is why we engage with the public through a mixture of consultations, public and direct meetings and our own customer panel.”

All change on the buses

Until November 13

Service 19B - North Common to Keynsham, 10am to 2pm hourly, Monday to Friday

From November 13

Service 19 - Bath to Cribbs Causeway via Kelston, Bitton, Oldland, Cadbury Heath, Kingswood, Staple Hill, Downend, UWE and Bristol Parkway. Operating every hour.

Service 19A - Bath to Cribbs Causeway via Saltford, Keynsham, Willsbridge, Oldland, Cadbury Heath, Kingswood, Staple Hill, Downend, UWE and Bristol Parkway. Operating every hour.

Service 37 - Bath to Bristol via Kelston, Bitton, Longwell Green, Hanham, St. George, Lawrence Hill. Operating every hour.

Service 42 - Bristol City Centre to Bitton, Cherry Gardens via its current route. Operating every half an hour.

Full details of these services are expected to be announced shortly.
First brought in 'significant changes' from September 4, including a new service 16 from Bristol Parkway to Hanham (replacing the 81).
Check timetables before you travel.