Thursday, 4 August 2016

Major cuts for buses to Southmead, Parkway, UWE

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.


  1. Martin Davis2:48 pm

    Am really pleased somebody has picked up on this. In particular the loss of a direct service from UWE to Yate.

    In addition there will also be the loss of a service from Wotton Under Edge to Cribbs Causeway.

  2. Anonymous3:54 pm

    "The frequency of the buses from Yate to Southmead Hospital and Parkway Station will be halved"
    Not quite right... the frequency of the services to parkway station will be halved with the removal of the 81 service, however the 82 to Southmead remains at the same frequency, albeit starting and ending at Yate shopping centre. Services are in fact improved from two hourly to hourly on a Sunday not in any way halved at all on any day of the week.

    The only decision that can be placed in the hands of First is removal of the 81 service, which as a commercial service didn’t carry enough people to pay its way, the 82 was always the more popular of the two services. The remaining decisions are the responsibility of the council’s latest bus re-tendering exercise.
    The re tendering exercise also means that Wessex will no longer run the 84,86 & 620 services, being reworked and passed to Stagecoach based in Stroud to operate.

    As Stagecoach are based in Stroud rather than in Bristol, any vehicle breakdowns and defects will take several hours to resolve, leading to massive gaps in services.
    The new timetables for the Wotton services appeared on traveline on Thursday and are next too useless as services don't interconnect well in Yate Shopping Centre. At the moment you can catch an 82 from Chipping Sodbury towards Southmead at 6:15 and 7:05 arriving into Southmead at 7:15 & 8:30, the first connection using the "Improved Wotton Services" will be the 9:25 arrival at Southmead.
    The Wotton services are also extended to start and end at Yate Rail station but are again are hopeless as only one or two trips a day seem arrive at times that provide any useful connections (without a half hour wait) to onward train services.
    It also means that those passengers that have to pay fares, will need to pay twice, once for the Stagecoach service and once for the connecting First services
    All the council seems to be interested in is saving a few quid (which is commendable), its clear that things like service integration, network and ticketing benefits are never considered.
    It is a misguided decision by the council and one that will result in me getting back in the car and clogging up the roads to aztec west every day and £1000 a year less revenue for the bus companies as a result.

  3. Thanks, that's a very useful clarification.

  4. So were we mislead during the consultation on the 84&86 services?
    As if I recall correctly there was no mention at all of the removal of the Yate to Wotton extension of the 82 service as part of the process to ‘improve’ services.
    I'm sure the responses to the consultation would have been different had we known the 82 was also being considered for changes.