Liberal Democrat campaigners call for action on New Year’s buses to Southmead

Leader of South Gloucestershire’s Liberal Democrat councillors, Claire Young, has written to local First Bus managing director James Freeman calling on him to review his decision not to lay on any buses to Southmead from Yate or Thornbury on New Year’s Day. A decision that could leave hospital staff and those visiting patients high and dry.

Claire Young said: “Initially First said that they were not going to run any Yate or Thornbury buses at all on New Year’s Day, which would have been a ludicrous situation. Thankfully First relented after we and others wrote to express our concern. There is now at least a basic service with a few buses running to Bristol and back but it is still far from adequate. The lack of a direct service to Southmead is a real worry. This will mean that residents will struggle to visit sick loved ones on New Year’s Day, and hospital staff who usually take the bus will be left out of pocket. I wrote again to James Freeman asking him to address this problem.”    

North Yate Lib Dem councillor Ian Blair said: “I raised this issue with the Conservative Executive Member for Transport Cllr Colin Hunt at last week’s meeting of Council. He said that his hands are tied because he has no control over the level of service provided by operators. This is untrue. First is subsidised by the council to provide bus services on bank holidays, with the level of service expected being set out in the contract. It is ridiculous if the council has neglected to make New Year’s Day subject to that contract. Once again the Conservatives have shown that they don’t care about Yate residents or bus users.”

Local resident Paul Hulbert said:  "I was astonished to hear that there weren't going to be any local buses on New Year's Day. I am pleased that there will now be a basic service into Bristol, but it's very disappointing that there still won't be any direct buses from Yate to Southmead Hospital for staff or visitors. Let's hope that First Bus and South Glos Council get their act together for future bank holidays."

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