New bus stops 'not good enough' says resident

December 13 2020
New bus stops 'not good enough' says resident

New bus stops through the Broad Walk in Knowle are not up to scratch, says resident Phillip Saint.

by Charley Rogers

Instead of a new stop and shelter in the old location, there is a “small plaque” that has been erected around 200 yards away from the previous site at the bottom of Broad Walk says local man Philip Saint, which is easy to miss and doesn’t provide cover from the weather. 
“Bus stops along Daventry Road and through Broad Walk were replaced,” Mr Saint said. 
“The one at Daventry Road was put in, the one in the middle of Broad Walk was put in, but the one at the bottom of Broad Walk was never erected.”
The new bus stops are also lacking timetables, he adds, which prevents bus users from being able to find out what buses run from what stop, and when. 
The bus routes are operated by First West of England. 
The lack of good-quality public transport is at odds with the Mayor of Bristol’s agenda to encourage fewer cars through the city, argues Mr Saint. 
“How can the mayor be telling people to use public transport when in fact it is not publically-owned? It is run by a privately-owned company and is not controlled by the city council,” he said.
As well as complaints about the new stops, Mr Saint has raised issues with the frequency and scope of buses from Knowle. 
He says: “There are no direct buses that run from Knowle right up to the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI), for instance.” 
This is an issue for Mr Saint and his wife, who suffers from arthritis, as the walk from the nearest bus stop to the BRI is too far, and thus not walkable. 
James Freeman, managing director at First West of England says: “Whilst First West of England is part of a publicly-quoted PLC and not owned nor subsidised by the local authority, its aim is to provide services that work for the public, and to ensure that customers are able to stay connected across many parts of the region.  
“Overall responsibility for the network lies (as it has done since 1986) with the local authorities. In our area the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) took over this responsibility, except in North Somerset, which looks after its own area. WECA maintains an overview of what commercial bus operators provide in terms of services and frequencies, and, where it is cost-effective and in the public interest to do so, has the option to cover any gaps that it identifies in the network.
“Bus Stops and bus stop publicity across the West of England are both owned and managed by the local authorities. Operators such as First West of England may not display posters or information at bus stops. All displays are posted by WECA or North Somerset, as appropriate.”
A West of England Combined Authority (WECA) spokesperson added: “As local bus service timetables are still changing regularly in response to the pandemic, the West of England Combined Authority is working hard to maintain up-to-date route and timetable information online – through both our local Travelwest site and the national Traveline service – and maintain live predictions on the digital RTI displays at bus stops.
 “We have launched into a major reprint of all of the timetable displays across the region. Where services are still changing regularly, we are showing a new format display, which is aimed at giving passengers as much up to date information as possible.”