Blow for Hillfields residents as bus services are dropped

March 31 2017

BUS services to the Hillfields estate, which residents fought to get improved, are being cut again at the end of this month.

BUS services to the Hillfields estate, which residents fought to get improved, are being cut again at the end of this month.
First West of England is scrapping the 16 route from Hanham via Kingswood and Fishponds to Bristol Parkway and is changing the 17 service from Kingswood to Southmead Hospital so that all journeys are via Staple Hill rather than some through Hillfields.
The changes, which come in on April 30, will mean a long walk to a bus stop for some residents. It will also take away bus links between Hillfields and Lodge Causeway and Fishponds centre, where many need to travel for shopping and visits to doctors and dentists.
Hundreds of people signed a petition that led to the introduction of the improved services early last year - but not enough passengers have been using the buses to make the routes profitable.
South Gloucestershire Council, which has outlined all the bus changes on its website, explains that after First served notice on the 16, it sought another operator but was unable to find one that could operate it for the funds available.
Hillfields ward councillors Anna Keen and Craig Cheney are trying to have the buses reinstated.
They said: "We are both disappointed to learn that the 17 will no longer pass through Hillfields on its way to Southmead Hospital. We are aware that there are a number of local people that rely on this service and will now be expected to take a lengthy walk to be able to access the service.
"We have been talking to First Bus for the past few months on this change,  having negotiated a change to the previous proposals which saw a service still routed through Hillfields once an hour.
"Having fought successfully to save the 16 in its previous guise as the 81 we are very frustrated to hear this  is being cut. We know the strength of feeling that was displayed last time this cut was proposed and worked with local residents to gather a petition of over 500 signatures against this.
"We recently met with First Bus to discuss these changes and will continue to press them, as well as speaking to South Gloucestershire Council, for alternatives.  If you live in Hillfields and would like to raise your concerns with us we would love to hear from you."
Email Cllr.Craig.Cheney@bristol.gov.uk  (07469 413304) and Cllr.Anna.Keen@bristol.gov.uk. (07342 031891)