15-seat community mini-bus service secured for Weston Hillside
PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 May 2018
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A community bus service will run in an area of Weston-super-Mare where public transport is a 'lifeline' for people.
Crosville Motor Services scrapped its Weston routes in April, including the 106 service for the Shrubbery.
A temporary solution was found with a Bristol operator, but this is to be replaced with a 15-seat mini-bus operated by North Somerset Council.
Ward councillor John Crockford-Hawley said: “The 106 bus service has had its trials and tribulations over the past couple of years, culminating in the recent service withdrawal by Crosville.
“Historically the route through the Shrubbery has always presented problems.
“Roads are simply too narrow for normal size buses to pass freely resulting in lateness or cancellations.
“On top of this the service has not been profitable so traditional bus operators have little incentive to operate the route.
“Cllr Mark Canniford and I had several meetings with North Somerset Council’s transport staff as we were concerned a disproportionate number of elderly and less-able people would be left stranded on the hillside with no form of transport into town.
“We are increasingly aware of the modern problems loneliness and isolation cause – for many the bus was the only means of getting into town to shop and meet people.”
The new service will start on May 29, and will follow the same route as the 106, and will be known as C1 and C2.
Cllr Crockford-Hawley added: “We’ve secured this as a weekday service but unfortunately finances won’t enable it to run at weekends or bank holidays.
“Being a mini-bus there’ll be user limitations – no room for buggies or big shopping trollies and no room for standing passengers but hopefully we’ll have solved the problem of enforced hillside isolation.”
Bridie Collier, chairman of the Shrubbery Neighbourhood Group, said: “The C2 community bus will be a lifeline for residents.
“I told one of my neighbours the good news and she was overjoyed.
“She had been thinking she would need to move house, as it was such a struggle for her to get down the Shrubbery steps to town. Now she won’t have to, as from May 29 the bus will be stopping right outside her house.”