Give us back our 'lifeline' bus
BUS users staged a demonstration in Mangotsfield to call for the return of the axed number 10 service.
The route, which linked Lyde Green, Mangotsfield and Downend to Frenchay, UWE, Bristol Parkway station and Southmead Hospital, stopped running at the start of September after operator Wessex withdrew from the Bristol area.
Stagecoach, which took over most of Wessex’s services, has not taken on the 10 and South Gloucestershire Council, which previously subsidised the service, has not found an alternative operator. Instead, passengers needing to reach Southmead Hospital by bus are being told they must travel to either Staple Hill, Fishponds, UWE or Bristol Parkway station and change on to the 17, 77 or 82.
Passengers have spoken out against the loss of the 10, and South Gloucestershire councillor Michael Bell has presented 400-name petitions to the council and the West of England Combined Authority, which has responsibilities for the region’s transport system, calling for the service to be reinstated.
To step up the pressure, a demonstration by passengers and other residents was staged in Cossham Street in September.
Rodway Ward councillor Mr Bell said the 10 was a vital service for hospital staff, outpatients and visitors alike.
Urging WECA members to intervene to save the 10, Mr Bell told them: “I do not know how many of you regularly use buses and have direct experience of their reliability. Very few who do will be confident about relying on two buses to reach hospitals in a timely fashion. This comes at a time when the NHS is complaining about the cost of missed appointments.
“Even if the 10 is not very widely used, as is claimed, it provides a lifeline to those living in Mangotsfield who rely on public transport to hospital.”
WECA referred enquiries on the service to South Gloucestershire Council.
A council spokesperson said: “We have worked closely with WECA to explore alternative solutions following the announcement that Wessex has decided to leave the local bus market, leading to the 10 service ceasing to run as of September 2.
“When we explored the option of retendering the service, the lowest cost would have seen the subsidy almost double on what we were previously paying, rising from £150,000 to £287,000.
“Alternative routes are available for those who use the service and community transport is also an option.”
The council is advising passengers to visit the Traveline website, www.traveline.info, or call Traveline’s 12p-per-minute information line, 0871 200 22 33, for further information on travel options.