Bus route and timetable changes scheduled for mid-September look set to leave a large part of South Bradley Stoke without a direct daytime service to Bristol city centre.
South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has confirmed rumours that the 71 and 72 bus services operated by Wessex Connect are to be withdrawn from 18th September.
The hourly 71 service, which links North Bradley Stoke with Little Stoke, Filton and the city centre on weekdays is to be replaced by a new U8 service that operates at peak hours only.
The 72 service, also hourly during the day Monday to Friday and linking South Bradley Stoke with the city centre via Little Stoke and Filton, will be replaced by a new U7 service linking Cribbs Causeway and the University of the West of England (UWE) at Frenchay.
Users of the new U7 service wishing to travel to the city centre will have to change onto other routes at Parkway Station or UWE (in term time only).
Another new service, labelled U7A, will provide a small number of peak hour journeys between Aztec West, Parkway Station and UWE.
A number of readers have contacted The Journal to complain about the proposed changes, some of whom are known to have also contacted Bradley Stoke Town Council and SGC.
SGC gave us the following statement:
“This service [71/72] has been operated by Wessex Connect on a mainly commercial basis, but the company has recently decided that this service is no longer viable to operate commercially and have therefore withdrawn the service and used these resources to support the U7/U7A and U8 routes.”
“There are other services available from Orpheus Avenue (service 73) or Elm Close (service X73).”
“The council will continue to discuss this issue with the current operator.”
One reader, who currently travels on the 72 from Ellan Hay Road to Rolls Royce, wrote:
“The 72 bus doesn’t offer a particularly satisfactory service at the best of times as it only runs hourly and sometimes doesn’t turn up. However it has been the only possible travel option available to me. I am disappointed to see that Wessex Connect is now proposing to withdraw it and replace it with a link between Cribbs Causeway and UWE, assisting students with their transport but completely disregarding the Bradley Stoke South Council Tax payers.”
Another reader, who catches the 72 from Baileys Court Road and travels to the city centre, wrote:
“We have never had a decent bus service in the south, certainly since I moved here in ’97, and when First Bus withdrew the service 74 we were told that it wasn’t viable because the town, especially the South, was built for car drivers!”
“I just wonder how we are supposed to get to and from work and, also, how people who rely solely on the bus are meant to get around. A lot of residents in Bradley Stoke South are now ‘getting on in years’ and are not able to walk to Orpheus Avenue for a 73.”
Wessex Connect failed to respond to an emailed request for a statement and their head office telephone system repeatedly terminated our calls before we got to speak to anyone. A source at the Bristol depot told us that the fate of the 71 and 72 services was in the hands of SGC.
The latest cuts follow the withdrawl of the 74 and 74X services in February 2009, a reduction in the frequency of the 73 service in February 2010 and the withdrawl of the 73A service in September 2010.
Related link: Bus services in Bradley Stoke (The Journal)
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