A 503-name petition objecting to the loss of a “lifeline” bus service was handed in to South Gloucestershire Council today.
The 533 linked up communities between Keynsham and Mangotsfield, including Willsbridge, North Common, Oldland Common, Barrs Court and Kingswood but bus company Wessex stopped running it last month.
The petition was collected in just two days and presented to the Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment Committee by Bitton parish councillor Karen Ross and Jane Allinson, South Gloucestershire councillor for Oldland Common, who is also a Bitton parish councillor.
Cllr Ross said: “The fact that we managed to collect over 500 signatures for our petition in just two days shows the strength of feeling there is about this issue locally. Residents have now been left with just one service, the 42, which doesn’t take them to many of the places they want to go.
“For example, if residents need to go to the One Stop Shop at the Kingswood Civic Centre, they need to take the 42 into the centre of Kingswood and then walk the rest of the way or wait to change buses.”
She said people with mobility problems would struggle to walk to catch an alternative bus: “The 533 was a real lifeline for many older residents and now it has been taken away.”
Cllr Allinson said: “Without the 533 it now takes two buses to get to vital amenities like the Aspects Leisure Centre and the Gallagher Retail Park at Longwell Green. It seems deeply unfair that while Cadbury Heath is served by five buses, Oldland Common now has just one. This lack of an adequate bus service will lead to many more Oldland residents getting in their cars, increasing congestion on local roads.”
The petition reads: “We the undersigned wish to express our grave concerns about the removal of the 533 service from Keynsham to Mangotsfield. The residents of Oldland Common ward will no longer be able to access important locations like Aspects Leisure Centre and Gallagher shopping centre Longwell Green. We are now served by the 42 Keynsham/ Kingswood/ Bristol service which has been rerouted via Cadbury Heath causing delays to the timetable. We request that our concerns are robustly investigated and existing services are improved to meet the needs of the residents of Oldland Common.”
Transport lobbyist Dave Redgewell told the meeting that the bus service, which had served people in B&NES and Bristol as well as South Glos, had been cancelled without any consultation.
Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore has also been campaigning for a better service for people in Oldland and North Common who have been cut off as a result of the ending of the 533.