Pensioners 'trapped' by lack of bus services past their Yate home

December 29 2021
Pensioners 'trapped' by lack of bus services past their Yate home

RESIDENTS of a retirement home in Yate say they have felt trapped at home since the withdrawal of the bus service which used to run past their front door.

The 70 residents of Cambrian Green Court in Wellington Road, many of them wheelchair users, say they cannot afford to take taxis each time they want to visit Yate shopping centre, a mile away, as the typical fare is £7-£8 each way.

They say they also have to pay an annual subscription and a charge of around £5 each time they travel with Yate-based Green Community Transport's community buses.

Resident Bob Wylie said the last bus stopped running past the home more than two years ago but the stop "is still right outside".

Residents' association chair Frances Lewis (pictured above at the disused stop), said they were frustrated that a petition they raised when bus operator First withdrew services appeared to have been ignored.

She said: "I could get on a bus outside and go to Southmead Hospital or into Bristol."

Now, she said, such journeys were prohibitively expensive for many residents. 

Association vice-chair Beryl Moore said: "A lot of us live only on our old age pensions and there are disabled people here who cannot walk."

She said she had raised the problem with MP Luke Hall and the bus company but nothing had happened.

A spokesperson for Housing 21, which runs Cambrian Green Court, said: "We support the residents’ position that having a bus route going directly past would be of great benefit to them."

Cambrian Green residents say they are stranded without a bus service

First Group's network and schedules manager for the West of England, Jazz Terry, said: "The passenger numbers along the Wellington Road corridor were, basically, non-existent and the bus service wasn't commercially viable, hence its removal.” 

However a company spokesperson said it was "undertaking a major deep dive surgery into the Yate services in the New Year, adding: "We will look into this missing link and will update the residents of Yate in due course about potential plans." 

West of England Metro Mayor, Dan Norris, who has responsibility for planning public transport in the area, said: "First Bus are cutting yet more services which are not commercially viable due to lack of passengers and government support.

"I have written to the minister to make this point, alongside MPs from across the parties.

"Sadly, new bus funding due in the spring can’t be used, as before, to save current services under threat.

"I would love to save, reinstate and fund more buses in the Yate and Chipping Sodbury area but I need the resources to do so. The government is cutting what I had – and that wasn’t enough anyway."