Anger as bus link to hospital, station and college is axed

August 03 2018

A BUS service linking Emersons Green, Stapleton and Begbrook with Southmead Hospital is being axed as the operator pulls out of the area.

The number 10 has been run by Wessex Bristol buses under a contract from South Gloucestershire Council since First’s number 18 was abandoned as commercially unviable a year ago.

Running from 5.45am to 8.50pm each day, it links Lyde Green, Emersons Green, Mangotsfield, Downend  Frenchay and Begbrook with UWE’s Frenchay campus, Bristol Parkway station and Southmead.

But after the end of August the service will no longer run - and passengers say it will leave them without a direct route to the hospital on public transport.

As rumours emerged that the service was being axed, Wessex at first said only that its contract with South Gloucestershire Council had not been renewed. Then on July 20, owner Rotala announced that it had sold the business to transport giant Stagecoach and said the 10 would not be transferred to the new operator.

Passengers are angry at the loss of the service, saying it is vital for people travelling to the hospital, Parkway station and the SGS College Filton campus. Many believe it has been hit by the introduction of the Metrobus route, which currently links Emersons Green only with UWE and the city centre.

Writing on public forum Stoke Lane Action Group, Kim Cleave said: “Local people totally rely on this service to get to Southmead Hospital and Parkway station. It is unacceptable to withdraw our only direct bus service to access health care.”

Ruth Pailing said: “Only bus I can get to Southmead for an 8am start. Back to the car and parking on the streets again.”

Janice Malschuk said: “Not good for the students going to SGS College. It’s the only public bus from Emersons to the college.”

Action group members are urging passengers to write to South Glos to demand it finds another operator for the service.

Bristol's cabinet councillor for transport Mhairi Threlfall has promised to take up the case and it has also been raised with the West of England Combined Authority.

A Rotala spokeswoman said 65 staff and 9 vehicles were being transferred to Stagecoach from September 2 - less than half the company’s estimated workforce of 200 in the Bristol area. 

She said: “The 10 service to Southmead Hospital will be withdrawn, as the local authority has decided it cannot provide the subsidy necessary to make this service viable.”

A council spokesman said: “Following the Wessex decision to withdraw from the local bus market, South Gloucestershire Council are unable to extend the contract for the 10 service, which was awarded to Wessex on an emergency basis for one year following the withdrawal of the 18 service at the end of Aug 2017.  

“Wherever possible, South Gloucestershire Council will seek to provide an alternative solution.”   

The council is advising people who used the 10 for Southmead Hospital to travel to Fishponds or Staple Hill and change onto the 17, change for the 77 at UWE or take the 77 or 82 from Bristol Parkway. 

• Changes have also been announced to First services.

The 49A, introduced at the end of April to increase peak time services from Staple Hill to the city centre, is withdrawn and will return in September.