Thursday, July 02, 2009

Cuts proposed in the 52 bus service

No comments:
I've just sent the email below to Bristol City Council ( having picked up a consultation leaflet about the proposed cuts in the 52 bus service (pictured - click to get larger image), which many in Knowle use of course. The council are consulting on the change until Friday 3 July and want to hear about the incovenience and hardship this service cut will cause - so get your email in very soon or write to Public Transport and Park and Ride (CD/BH), FREEPOST BS6529, Bristol, BS1 5BR.
It is with considerable dismay that I learned of the proposed cut in the 52 bus service, both as a Knowle resident and user of this service and as a keen green urging more, better and cheaper public transport. The council is minded to withdraw this bus service for Monday to Saturday evenings and all day on Sundays and Public Holidays despite having a policy of trying to encourage the public onto public transport! Government policy is also to encourage people onto public transport! If we are to have more people using buses (and trains) the council and government must put their money where their mouth is!

Its very hard indeed to square the use of the term 'service...withdrawn' with 'minimising hardship' on the consultation leaflet. The leaflet itself acknowledges that to access alternative services people would have to walk further. This is a disincentive on bus use of course but the picture is worse that just that. I have family and friends, including children, who would have the pattern of their lives disrupted and made less safe. They dont feel safe walking through certain areas at certain times yet they would be forced to do so if the changes happen in order to get a bus when they normally do. With lifts in a car unavailable some would at times be put-off going out altogether.

If the 52 bus service is cut, travelling back from town to Knowle is likely to take longer, with more waiting around. Friends and family currently travelling together but living in different parts of Knowle would, at times, no longer be able to catch the same bus - a service common to both would be gone.

The proposal to direct some 52 bus users to the Bristol Dial-a-Ride in the event of a service cut is inadequate. This would not cover all bus users as Dial-a-Ride is for those with mobility impairment. Those with mobility impairment would still experience service loss on Saturdays and Sundays when the 52 is currently available but Dial-a-Ride is not.

This bus service cut proposal is entirely inconsistent with the apparent drive to promote and encourage bus use in central Bristol, such as via a circular route or 'hub'. If we are to make significant overall progress in getting people onto public transport we must have properly coordinated improvements in services across the city.