First Bus has announced major cuts to bus services from Yate and Chipping Sodbury to Southmead Hospital, Parkway Station and the University of the West of England Frenchay Campus, starting 4th September.
You can see the full details of the changes on the South Glos Council website here - you need to look at the sections about services 81, 82 and 16 in particular.
The changes will cause major difficulties for local people. The frequency of the buses from Yate to Southmead Hospital and Parkway Station will be halved, and Chipping Sodbury, Wotton under Edge and the villages in between will lose their direct link to Southmead Hospital and Parkway Station altogether.
In addition almost all the direct buses from Yate to the University of the West of England will be cut, leaving just one "school time" direct service per day in each direction, and that will only run only on school days. Otherwise passengers from Yate will need to change buses at Downend, and passengers from Chipping Sodbury will need to change twice.
These bus cuts are going to cause local people a lot of problems. Halving the buses from Yate to Southmead and Parkway will deter people from using public transport. It will make the parking and traffic situation worse at both destinations. Life will become even more difficult for people who have regular treatment at Southmead, and it will waste a lot of time for people whose trains do not coincide with the bus schedule. This change will also restrict employment opportunities.
Things will be even worse for people who live in Chipping Sodbury, Wotton Under Edge and the villages in between. They will have to change buses in Yate as well, taking longer and pushing up travel costs. People in our area fought long and hard to get decent buses to Southmead when Frenchay Hospital closed, and now many of these services are being taken away.
The savage cuts to the bus services from Yate to UWE will be a major deterrent for students going to their local university. People seem to have assumed that UWE students work school hours and days, which just isn't so. Many students have to juggle lectures with jobs, just to be able to survive. What is more, these changes will affect areas that include Priority Neighbourhoods, where far fewer young people carry on in education after 18.
UWE does not allow students to bring cars to the Frenchay Campus for environmental reasons. The least we can do is make sure that students have decent bus services instead. UWE's Frenchay bus station is also a major interchange used by many people who are not students or staff, often travelling to work.
Bus services in our area are already not as good as much of Bristol, and these changes will make things even worse.
Let's hope that South Glos is willing do something to alleviate the impacts of these changes.