South Gloucestershire Council is asking for residents to have their say on the bus services which receive a council subsidy, in a new consultation.
The council currently supports a wide range of services. This includes some which are entirely funded by the council and others that run as commercial services, but that receive top-up funding to extend the route or, for instance, to run at evenings or bank holidays.
We currently support 32 bus services in this way, at a cost of £1.76 million, in order to expand routes or timetables in many areas where there would otherwise be fewer bus services.
The consultation is being held so the council can get a better understanding of the public’s priorities for public transport, so that we can ensure we are investing funding in the services that matter to people. As the council faces continued reduction in the funding it receives from Government, subsidies for bus services are due to be reviewed, with spending due to be reduced by £250,000 in 2019/20.
Feedback from this consultation will help to shape further engagement later in the year and help the council to identify priority services. The information will also form part of a wider Bus Strategy, which will be developed as part of the West of England Combined Authority later in the year. That will be designed to ensure greater coordination between authorities in terms of supporting the services that meet residents’ needs across the region.
Cabinet Member for Planning, Transportation and the Strategic Environment, Councillor Colin Hunt, said: “We want to hear from residents about the services they use and the services they value so that we can make sure we are supporting the right services.
“For thousands of residents, their local bus service is a lifeline. It is their means of getting to the shops, to see friends, visit family or attend medical appointments. We are keen to keep the services that people need, so please let us know through this consultation about your priorities.”
The Supported Bus Services consultation began on 12 June and has already received more than 160 responses, it will run until 3 September. More information can be found on the council website at www.southglos.gov.uk/consultation. Residents can complete the online survey, or download and print a paper copy and return it to the Freepost address below. A copy of the survey is available from your local library or One Stop Shop, which can be returned to any library or the Freepost address.
You can email your feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01454 868154 or write to: Freepost RTXL-YJXJ-BXEX, South Gloucestershire Council, Corporate Research & Consultation Team, Supported Bus Networks, Council Offices, Badminton Road, Yate BS37 5AF.