Green Party councillors in Southville have asked First Bus to meet the local demand for a direct bus link with Temple Meads.
A Green Party survey (Note 1) of over 200 residents has shown that a Temple Meads link is top of the list for improvements to local bus routes. At present there is no direct link between the city's central rail hub and most homes and businesses in the south west of the city.
The survey was conducted before Christmas by a team led by Cllr Tess Green, and prospective councillor Charlie Bolton (Note 2).
They have since talked with officials at First Bus, who accept there is a demand for bus services from BS3 to Temple Meads. However, they don't want to re-route either the existing 24 or 25, because their new 10 minute daytime frequency with more modern buses has already attracted many more passengers to the existing service.
First have however suggested that a new service might be viable if funding to kick start it can be found
Councillor Green said
"I have had people come up to me on a regular basis at my street surgery and elsewhere, and the need for a bus service to Temple Meads keeps cropping up. Our survey demonstrates that this is the case. I'd like to explore opportunities to win funding to help get a service underway"
Green candidate for Southville, Charlie Bolton said
"I don't suppose anyone expects a new service to be up and running tomorrow. We see this as the start of a campaign both pre- and post-election. Support for better bus services to Temple Meads will certainly be part of my manifesto for the council elections. It is also going to be necessary to seek wider support from the area. But I do wonder if there isn't a wider need for a bus manifesto for the local area - various other things need to be addressed - such as helping those who find it hard to get to the existing routes. Or communicating the services which exist."
The survey asked a number of questions about the bus service, ranging from local residents views of the price, frequency, and what routes they would like to see which don't exist at the moment. The results showed that something like 80% of people thought the price too expensive. Perhaps more surprisingly, around the same number thought the frequency of the existing service was satisfactory or good.
When it came to destinations wanted, a number of issues came up. These included requests for services to the hospital, different parts of the city centre and Clifton. However, the stand out result came from those wanting to get to Bristol Temple Meads (62 out of 162 ie 38%).
Charlie Bolton, who served as a Southville councillor from 2006 to 2010, will stand again in May when the present councillor, Tess Green, steps down after representing the ward for four years.