Disappointment at bus service

September 25 2014

DESPITE a vital service being re-instated after it was axed by First, campaigners and bus users say that it is "disappointing" that the service now only runs until 6pm, and doesn't operate on a Sunday.

DESPITE a vital service being re-instated after it was axed by First, campaigners and bus users say that it is "disappointing" that the service now only runs until 6pm, and doesn't operate on a Sunday.
The new 520 bus service, covering most of the previous route travelled by the number 20, was launched by the council last month.
The number 20 was withdrawn on August 31 - despite strong opposition from campaigners - based on the route not being "commercially viable".
However, since the number 20 was re-routed earlier on in the year, campaigners say that the service became unreliable, therefore driving many users away.
Bristol City Council reached an agreement with First to run the new service, which operates on an hourly basis from 6.30am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday, between Westbury-on-Trym and Lewins Mead in the centre.
Bus user, Peter Searle, said: "It was good to hear that the service is reinstated, albeit only six days a week and as an hourly service.
"Iit is disappointing to note that the service finishes at 6pm, which will be of no help to anyone wishing to use public services in the evening to visit the Oncology unit, the heart unit, the new extended BRI or St Michael's Hospital.
He added: "Trying to reach these hospital departments without the bus will be very difficult for the less able bodied visitors. It will also impact staff who finish day shifts around 8pm and staff who start night shifts at that time.
"An extension until 8pm would enable evening visits to Bristol's biggest hospitals, using public transport."
Redland councillor Fi Hance, who was involved in discussions with First bus and the council when it was announced the 20 service was to be terminated, said: "Given [the service's] well documented unreliability, it's no great surprise that the service wasn’t being used as much as it might. But it did provide a lifeline for many communities in Redland and beyond.
"Whilst [the new timetable is] not ideal, this is clearly an improvement, and congratulations to all those residents and groups who made their voices heard on the issue. It’s worth noting that, as service 520 will be financially supported by the council, we will be able to apply financial penalties for poor performance, so I would suggest that residents report any faults."
Assistant mayor for transport, cllr Mark Bradshaw said: “The response to the withdrawal of service 20 made it evident that it was an important public transport link between Westbury-on-Trym and the city centre.
"We will be monitoring punctuality and reliability on the 520 very carefully to ensure it meets the service standards we have specified."
Paul Matthews, managing director for First West of England, added: “There was considerable strength of feeling around the loss of Service 20. We understand this and while we would reiterate that it was not possible to retain the service on a commercial basis, we are pleased that the council has been able to find a resolution to this issue.”

520 bus