Cuts to hospital bus link will hit Staple Hill hard, says councillor

Published on: 07 Sep 2015

HARD-WON improvements to the bus link between Staple Hill and Southmead Hospital have been cut back.
Ward councillor Shirley Potts is dismayed that only nine months after she and fellow councillor Ian Boulton successfully secured better services to the £430 million superhospital, they have been reduced.
The new timetable for the 17 and 17A route between Kingswood and the hospital, introduced on August 23,  includes only an hourly service.
Councillor Potts said: “This will have severe effects on the many elderly and disabled residents and also on the young families from this area who, as data shows, suffer from health inequalities as well as other forms of deprivation.
“I am extremely disappointed . In all my years as a councillor I have never been approached by so many people thanking us for the efforts we made and saying that the new arrangements had been of great benefit.  Alas this will no longer be the case.”
Bus operator First said the changes to the timetable of the 17 were being made to improve punctuality.
“Extra time will be given for buses to complete the route; extra time will also be added between journeys. These changes are designed to address the current punctuality issues on the 17.  Regular customers are advised to check the new timetables carefully before travelling,” a spokesman said.
The company added that the changes to services in east Bristol and South Gloucestershire were the result of extended talks and consultation with local residents.
Some of the new routes give other parts of South Gloucestershire direct services to the hospital for the first time.
But some areas, such as the Hillfields estate, have seen a drastic reduction in their bus services.
Nor have bus operators yet heeded calls to bring back bus services in the Cleeve Hill area of Downend, which have been axed in recent years.

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