Campaigners celebrate bus victory

37 busSouth Gloucestershire Council has come up with funding to restore vital bus links between North Common and Keynsham and between Bitton and Bristol city centre.

From Sunday (4th September) the 17A Southmead-Keynsham route stops and the 37 Bristol to Bath service will turn off at Willsbridge to go via Keynsham instead of through Bitton, Swineford and Kelston.

After the public meeting in Kingswood earlier this month at which the strength of feeling about these changes was clear, council officers and bus company First have been in talks.

And they have now decided that from November there will be a change to the 19 service (Cribbs Causeway to Bath via Bitton) so that one bus an hour will operate from Cadbury Heath via Oldland and Kenilworth Drive to Keynsham and then on to Bath via the A4 through Saltford and Newton St Loe.

Numbered the 19A, it will be supported by South Glos Council. In turn this will allow the 37 to revert to its route along the A431 into Bath.

In the meantime, First has worked with the council to put on a short-term stop-gap – the 19B –  to provide an hourly off-peak service from North Common to Keynsham and the Chandag Estate.

Bitton councillor Erica Williams, who chairs South Glos Public Transport Forum, said the solution was what she’d called for and she was delighted everyone had worked together to find a solution.

She thanked all who attended the public meeting and added: “Without the ongoing support from The Week In, residents wouldn’t have had a voice; we worked well together to ensure all the concerns were taken on board.”

Campaigner Scott Salter, who was behind a petition to get the 17A reinstated, praised  James Freeman, managing director of First, for being “incredibly helpful” in finding a resolution.