Re-connecting Yatton and Clevedon by bus

The new North Somerset Council met for the first time last night. I asked for an urgent meeting with Cllr James Tonkin, the Executive Member for Planning and Transport to look at what options are open to the Council to help put our local bus services back together again.

To be fair to James, he had literally been confirmed in his post for a matter of minutes, but he responded positively. After the Council meeting closed I had further conversations – including with transport campaigner, Dave Redgewell, neighbouring ward councillors, and also Cllr Don Davies, the new Leader of the Council.

Jonathan Edwards (Chair of Yatton Parish Council) has been on this case for a while, too, and working together, I’m hopeful of some progress after a woeful lack of a local bus strategy.

This is what I said during councillor Question Time.

 

Transcript

Does the Executive Member (for Transport) agree with me that just because rural bus services aren’t particularly profitable it should not mean that we shouldn’t have the service?

As many members will know, as a result of the changes to First West of England bus routes and timetables on 28 April there is now no bus service between Yatton and Clevedon (not to mention Kenn and Kingston Seymour) except the weekly 128 service (which gives you 2.5 hours to do what you need to do before the return journey).

A Yatton to Clevedon service is a lifeline for many people and the removal of the X7 service has caused a lot of distress: two examples – a pensioner having to fork out £22 to pay for a return taxi fare in order to attend a weekly appointment at the Community Hospital; and a young woman unable to get to Castlewood to sign-on at the Jobcentre. It is unacceptable that many now have to beg others for lifts.

The subsidised 88 Carmel service was dropped when First’s X7 was brought in last year. I gather that while there is some budget to reintroduce a similar service, there is a shortfall… although again – I understand that this is less than the sum the last administration agreed to pass to First from S106 funds to allow for the re-routed X2 service to branch off along Yatton high street.

I realise of course that this is not straightforward, but I would respectfully ask the Executive Member if he would agree to meet with me, Cllr Griggs, and a representative of Yatton Parish Council as soon as possible please so we can look at what further options might be open for the Council to resolve the current unacceptable situation.

6 comments on “Re-connecting Yatton and Clevedon by bus

  1. Margaret

    It’s not just about getting to clevedon it’s also about people from clevedon getting to yatton railway station. I sincerely hope the bus will be returned for us all. Maybe first bus should count bus passes as well as paying passengers when the talk about numbers!

    • Steve Bridger

      Absolutely, Margaret. Totally agree and Cllr Geoff Richardson approached me at the close of the Council meeting to say just the same thing. Kingston Seymour hasn’t been served by a bus route for a number of years, and Kenn is now also only served by the weekly 128 service. The changes to the X2 timetable aren’t ideal for those children who need to use public buses to get to Backwell School. We need integrated public transport – which links up with GWR trains, too.

  2. Rachel Evans

    Thanks Steve for fighting for us. Regarding the Backwell school kids. From speeking to some of them what they have told me is that they either have to wait For the 4.08 x2 if they need any of the villages it gos through – a good 45 mins after school finishes Or if they are going to Yatton the get the x1 and get off at Tesco and use the path that runs the back of Cadbury garden Centre. It’s not that bad to walk in the summer but I for one would never do it in the winter ( Iv tryed it with a torch really not good) but also when you get to the other end it is not the safest of places to be walking and crossing as there is no Assisted crossings. I have shred with you some Photos on your Facebook link to this page for you to see. Also I’ll let you know how my trip to clevedon gos this Saturday!

    • Steve Bridger

      Thanks, Rachel. Wouldn’t mind talking to you about your experience with the buses to be honest.

  3. Charlotte Baker

    Thank you Steve, my daughter has had to hand her notice in at work as cannot get there 😔

    • Steve Bridger

      That’s awful, Charlotte. The real ‘lived experience’ must always be at the very centre when we are designing policy and services. With others, I’ll do my very best to get this sorted out. I hope your daughter finds something else soon.

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