The section of Filton Avenue north of the Avon Ring Road will lose its only bus service in less than two months time according to a statement made by Wessex Connect today.
The bus operator has announced its intention to withdraw the U8 Bradley Stoke to Bristol service with effect from Sunday 20th May.
The service is currently the only one that travels along Filton Avenue between its junction with Gloucester Road in the north (near Filton College) to the Ring Road junction (near the King George VI public house).
The axing of the peak-hours-only U8 comes just ten months after Wessex Connect introduced it as a replacement for the former 71 and 72 services, which ran hourly throughout the day and also served Conygre Road.
The withdrawal of the 71 and 72 created a storm of protest when it was announced last summer, culminating in heated exchanges at a well-attended meeting of the Southern Brooks Area Forum in Filton on 30th August.
Wessex Connect says it has been forced to make the latest cuts because of the challenges it faces in the current economic climate, citing continued cost increases and “limited opportunity to increase existing revenue without extortionate price increases”.
The bus company’s press statement justifies the move as follows:
“Following the recent decision by the Chancellor to continue with the Fuel Duty Rate increase planned for August 2012, along with the reduction in Bus Service Operator’s Grant by 20% from April 2012 and current increasing fuel costs, we have reviewed our network of services and ability to operate services within the current climate.”
“Discussions are taking place with local authorities in relation to these service withdrawals and should any agreement be reached for a continued operation of service(s), we will of course advise our customers accordingly. Wessex apologises for any inconvenience this may cause to our customers, however this is brought about by circumstances beyond our control.”
South Gloucestershire Council said it had no money to subsidise a replacement service for the 71 and 72 and it is now saying the same about the U8, according to an email seen by the Bradley Stoke Journal. A Transport Officer writes in response to a concerned resident:
“As you are aware from the situation from the withdrawal of the 71/72 services there is not sufficient budget to replace these services but we will be in discussions with operators to investigate alternatives but cannot guarantee they will be in place before these services cease to operate.”
More information about the latest round of bus service cuts: Bradley Stoke South set to lose all daytime bus services (Bradley Stoke Journal)