Staple Hill wins more direct buses to hospitals
Published on: 05 Oct 2014
A CAMPAIGN to improve bus services from Staple Hill to the new hospital at Southmead has resulted in victory with First pledging to change timetables as early as next month.
The campaign was spearheaded by councillors Ian Boulton and Shirley Potts who urged residents to sign a petition to put pressure on the bus company to review its routes.
The petition, signed by nearly 1,000 people, prompted talks between First and South Gloucestershire Council.
And now First says the 17 service will be rerouted from November 2 and will provide a more direct service for the people of Staple Hill to get to the new £430m regional acute hospital. Journeys to Cossham Hospital will also be improved.
Cllr Boulton and Potts argued that the number of people in Staple Hill without a car is higher than average so the need for a better bus service is vital.
They also said the area has a large elderly population which means people are finding it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to get to the hospital.
Councillor Potts said: “I am delighted that the petition presented to the council on behalf of Staple Hill residents has succeeded procuring the diversion of the number 17 bus to provide a more direct route to Southmead Hospital. This will help the significant number of residents who have experienced great difficulty in accessing essential hospital facilities”.
Cllr Boulton said: “When the new Southmead Hospital opened in May, many people were still unaware of our poor bus service to our new regional acute hospital. The petition has helped to raise awareness of the problems people face if they use public transport and the hundreds of signatures we have collected demonstrate how strongly people in Staple Hill feel about it.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign to get a direct bus from Staple Hill to Southmead Hospital.
“We are delighted it will now be a little easier to get to Southmead Hospital, however we will continue to campaign for better transport links for our residents and visitors in Staple Hill.”
A First West of England spokesperson said: “We can confirm that as part of a series of service changes taking effect on November 2, the route of service 17 is changing.
“From this date buses towards Southmead Hospital will follow the current route from Kingswood until the junction of Woodland Way on Henshaw Road. From there buses will travel via Woodland Way, Soundwell Road and Staple Hill High Street before re-joining the current route at Staple Hill Road at the junction of Thicket Road.
“Journeys towards Kingswood will do the same in reverse. This change means that more of Staple Hill will benefit from a direct bus service to both Cossham Hospital and Southmead Hospital. The new route will also allow for better interchanges between those travelling on service 7 (Centre - Staple Hill / Mangotsfield) to and from Mangotsfield and New Cheltenham.”
New timetables for the services changing in November will be uploaded to the website, www.firstgroup.com/bristol, by October 22.