Bristol Airport’s rural bus service plans called into question

An artist impression of Bristol Airports revised terminal. Picture: Bristol Airport

An artist impression of Bristol Airports revised terminal. Picture: Bristol Airport - Credit: Bristol Airport

Doubts have been cast on Bristol Airport’s rural bus service plans, with one councillor questioning whether they will be ‘the inclusive services residents need’.

The 24-hour 'on-demand' bus services will run from Nailsea and Backwell train station while another service will start in Clevedon, stopping at Yatton train station and Cleeve en route to the airport.

Rural communities suffered big cuts to bus services earlier in the year. Yatton lost its connection to Clevedon and Nailsea, while Kenn's services were also decimated.

The new pre-booked services will be run in line with flight times and worker rosters at the airport.

The trial in 2020 will last for six months for the airport to gauge interest in the services.

Cllr Steve Bridger, North Somerset's representative for Yatton, said: "The announcement is pre-emptive and potentially misleading and the bus services mentioned are unlikely to be the formal and inclusive public transport bus routes residents need.

"We are still busy progressing alternatives for Yatton, and elsewhere with First Bus and other operators."

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However, some campaigners welcomed the news.

A spokesman for Stop Bristol Airport Expansion said: "The airport has fewer public transport options than any other airport in Europe, so these additional local bus services are welcome news for communities such as Yatton and Cleeve should they survive the 'trial' period in 2020."

The airport claims the new Nailsea and Clevedon service forms part of a multi-million pound package which it hopes will mitigate the impact of additional traffic associated with its plans to handle 12 million passengers per year by 2025.

James Shearman, head of sustainability at Bristol Airport, said: "We continue to listen to feedback from our local communities on the need to improve public transport services to the airport and since 2011 we've invested £8million in transport improvements.

"We are committed to exploring new public transport alternatives where these are economically viable.

"The Bristol Flyer started life as a minibus when the service commenced and has grown to the extent that in 2018 over 800,000 journeys were made and we are hopeful the trials will prove to be as successful."