Liberal Democrat Councillor Claire Young is calling upon South Gloucestershire Council to step in to fund the extension of the 82 service to Chipping Sodbury and the villages beyond.
The call comes after First Bus revealed that they do not intend to extend the 82 service as far as Chipping Sodbury, because they consider it not to be commercially viable to do so. This means that there is still no direct bus route from Chipping Sodbury to Southmead Hospital.
Claire said: “I’m extremely disappointed to hear that First are not prepared to look at extending the 82 service. I have been campaigning alongside residents on this issue for over a year now. Last Autumn, we presented a petition on the issue at the Public Transport Forum and, only earlier this week, First Bus Director James Freeman promised that he would look at ways to improve the 82 service once the Bromley Heath viaduct works have finished.
“However, First Bus’ Commercial Manager has since informed me that they will not be looking at extending the route as part of these improvements, as they do not deem it to be cost-effective for them. This comes as a bitter blow, as our petition proves that there is significant local demand for a direct service to Southmead Hospital from Chipping Sodbury and the villages. The lack of a direct route means that elderly and frail patients and visitors to Southmead have the inconvenience of changing buses as Yate.
“In cases, like this, where a bus service is not deemed commercially viable, but there is real public need, it is possible for the Council to step in and fund it. That’s why I’m calling upon South Gloucestershire’s Conservative Cabinet to fund the extension of the 82 route. It is clear that there is genuine public need for this service, and I hope we can get a cross-party consensus to bring it about.”