Bus changes are bad news for south of town

Wessex Connect bus services, Bristol

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Council (SGC) has confirmed rumours that the 71 and 72 bus services operated by Wessex Connect are to be withdrawn from 18th September.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but the company has recently decided that this service is no longer viable to operate commercially and have therefore withdrawn the service and used these resources to support the U7/U7A and U8 routes.”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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  1. Although it will be no consolation to those living in South Bradley Stoke, First Bus has announced some improvements on the 73 and X73 routes from 18th September:

    On Mondays to Fridays the frequency of the 73 is increased (reverted) to every 12 minutes.

    An additional morning X73 journey is introduced on Mondays to Fridays at 0815 from Cribbs Causeway to the City Centre.

  2. I am so angry about the changes to the bus services. 71,72 everyday i travel from braydon av. in Little Stoke to and from work from city center. This proposal of changes are not acceptable.

  3. I can not begin to express how disappointed I am in these changes. The withdrawal of the 72 route now means that the regular users from Ellan Hay/Baileys Court are faced with an additional 20min walk to catch the 73 from Orpheus Ave, or an even longer walk to catch the replacement U8 from Braydon Ave. To suggest that the U7, which covers the 72 route, is an alternative service is laughable! As most people need to be at work for 8am a service that starts at 07.45 and requires a change at Parkway Station is not very helplful! How about First Bus running the 73b service (which currently covers the 72 route in the evening) from 06.30 until 9am? This way we could at least have a service that takes us directly into the City Centre without forcing people to walk long distances/change buses or revert to driving their cars!

  4. Once again the southern end of Bradley stoke is paying the price for a bus company putting profit before providing a service. I have used the 72 that runs the first trip of the day for a while, and while I can understand cutting some journeys during the day the bus is very busy. Sometimes its standing room only. A 20 plus minute walk in the dark to then wait to see if the bus turns up with space for you is not a service. This must mot be allowed to happen. But I expect there is more profit in ferrying students back and forward than workers. Could someone also point out to Mr I got a car so don’t care kemble that trains don’t run to the city centre or is there something he is not telling us.

  5. I have lived here since 1967 and this is the only bus service that we have had to Bristol, and now we will have to walk up the local cycle path, pass a
    childrens playground, which is very intimidating when full of teenagers.
    Once again Little Stoke gets forgotten. How do the people half way down Stoke Lane manage to get into Bristol?

  6. This matter is due to be discussed by Bradley Stoke Town Council at a meeting next Wednesday, 24th August – 7.30pm at the Jubilee Centre. I would urge all those who are likely to be affected by these proposed changes to attend. Please also lobby Wessex Connect buses – these proposals are leaving us all in an intolerable position.

  7. This is completely unacceptable. I am in agreement with all the other comments here, why should I have to walk (in the dark at certain times of the year) for and extra 15 minutes for a service that takes longer and costs 3 times as much. I have a young child that I have to take to childcare and my morning schedule is tight enough as it is without having to add this extra time to it and then to have to potentially change buses part way. And I note the UWE route is term time only….what about the workers who don’t get the school holidays off?? And with the announcement this week of the drastic rise in rail prices, the train isn’t an option either. A shocking decision.

  8. The Town Council has no say in this matter. I would be asking what have our South Gloucestershire councillors been doing to stop these cuts to a very vauled service? My guess is very little.

  9. I have heard today (22 August) from Roy Steele, Principal Transport Officer with South Gloucestershire Council, who has given me the following information:

    “We have been in discussions with Rotala with regards the operating in your area and we have agreed a change of route on the U8 service for the peak journeys, which would give commuters easier access from the southern part of Bradley Stoke.  We are not able to publish a revised timetable at this time due to the route having to be approved by the Traffic Commissioner, once this has been completed we will update our website with the new timetable and also update the timetables at bus stops.
    The new route for the U8 in the mornings and afternoons will be:
    Woodlands Lane, Peartree Road, Brook Way, Savages Wood Road, Willow Brook Centre, Savages Wood Road, Fiddlers Wood Lane, Bradley Stoke Way, Webbs Wood Road, Baileys Court Road, Brook Way, Braydon Avenue, then to City Centre

    We are expecting that this will be in place for the commencement of the revised service in September.  Whilst this does not address all of your concerns we will continue to try and find ways of providing services to all areas as funding or other opportunities arise.”

    So, subject to approval by the Traffic Commissioner, it looks as if common sense has prevailed and the U8 will now cover Bradley Stoke South as well as the North at peak times during the week. It is a start!!

  10. I have read the comments about the bus service alterations.They are now including Bradley Stoke South
    .But we still need more journeys for our return from the city centre after work.
    .Most people need to catch a bus around 4pm for this not 5.15pm.
    There is a meeting at Filton Community Centre at Elm Park on tuesday 30th August as this affects people in parts of Filton as well.
    If people from Bradley Stoke are prepared to go to this meeting to voice their opinions on this perhaps some notice will be taken of the general public.

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