‘Let’s keep up pressure over hospital buses’

June 30 2014

CAMPAIGNERS for an improved bus service to the new hospital at Southmead are turning to technology.

CAMPAIGNERS for an improved bus service to the new hospital at Southmead are turning to technology.

Staple Hill’s councillors are urging people to sign an online petition calling for improved direct bus services to neighbouring areas, and especially to the new £430 million regional acute hospital in North Bristol.

They say the number of people in the area without a car is higher than average and this, coupled with the area’s large elderly population, means people are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to get to the hospital.

At a council meeting in May, councillors Ian Boulton and Shirley Potts, presented a petition signed by more than 600 people calling on transport officers and local bus companies to improve bus links and direct access to Southmead.  

Now they are directing residents who missed the original petition to sign an online petition, which can be found on South Gloucestershire Council’s website.

Councillor Ian Boulton (Lab) said: “I recommend that everyone checks the Travelwest website to see how difficult it can be to travel from Staple Hill to Southmead using the current bus timetable.  The suggested routes usually start with a 20 minute walk to the centre of Downend or Fishponds and, in some cases, residents have to go all the way into Bristol city centre to change buses in order to travel out again.  

“Such arduous journeys will be impossible for the ill or infirm and their visitors will not be able to see sick friends or relatives.”

Fellow Staple Hill councillor Shirley Potts (Lab) said: “Other areas in South Gloucestershire have new direct bus routes to the hospital, and good luck to them.  But Staple Hill has a higher than average proportion of residents without a car and a relatively elderly population, so direct buses from our area are really needed and I am sure would be well used. 

“I am disappointed that the bus bosses have not included Staple Hill in their plans for direct services, but hope they will listen now.”

The petition is online at https://petitions.southglos.gov.uk/consult.ti/system/viewPetition?petitionid=9066