Warning of big autumn bus cuts

July 28 2022



BUS passengers are being warned that services face a second round of cuts in the autumn.

The region's Metro Mayor Dan Norris said severe bus driver shortages, the withdrawal of government subsidies and a continued drop in the numbers using buses meant reductions were inevitable,

He is urging people to take part in a review of services taking place over the summer. Mr Norris says he is keen to hear from people who use buses but, crucially, also from those who don’t as increasing passenger numbers is vital to increase fare income and to tackle the climate emergency. 

A series of meetings is taking place: Monday 1 August at Yate Parish Hall;  Tuesday 2 August at Southdown Methodist Church; Wednesday 3 August at St Augustine’s Church, Whitchurch; Thursday 4 August at Brook Way Activity Centre, Brook Way, Bradley Stoke, BS32 9DA. 

 You can also participate online: https://www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk/what-we-do/transport/bus/big-choices-on-buses/ 

Mr Norris said: "I am sorry that people in South Gloucestershire will feel these cuts in October, when private bus companies withdraw their services on the less profitable routes.

"My heart goes out to people who will lose buses which I know are so important for getting to work, seeing family and caring for others. When it comes to funding, I will always step in to save vital buses where I can, but there isn’t an unlimited pot of cash and even if there was, I can’t magic up drivers."

A First West of England spokesperson said: “As a condition of transitional funding arrangements, bus operators must undertake full network reviews to assess the viability of all routes once funding ends in the autumn.  

“This is currently taking place in West of England but we must stress no decisions have been made and it would be inappropriate to comment on speculation at this stage. 

“Like all other bus operators in the UK, we must adapt our networks to match the post-pandemic demand for services."

On July 6 First managing director Doug Claringbold told a South Gloucestershire Council scrutiny commission meeting: "The level of service that First has been delivering has not been acceptable because of the level of cancellations, largely driven by a shortage of trained bus drivers.

"In October we need to have a timetable which is robust, so there will have to be some planned changes to bring us back into line where our resources meet the services we operate.

“We are not prepared to run a non-reliable service."