Pensioners’ new bus service

A NEW bus service will start in Portishead in January following a campaign by pensioners.

Many senior citizens complained after a bus service near to their homes was axed earlier in the year as part of a budget-cutting exercise.

The bus, which serviced the South Road area, provided elderly residents with a vital link to shops and the health centres.

Now, after months of calling for North Somerset Council to return the link, public transport manager Paul Baker has confirmed that a new service will begin in January.

North Somerset Council is providing Nailsea District Community Transport with kick-start funding to operate the service for a minimum of six months which will allow the fare to be set at a �1 flat fee. After that, unless other funding is secured, the operator will be expected to run the service on a commercial basis.

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Eighty-year-old Barbara Davies of Seville Road says the pensioners are delighted they will be back on a public transport route but still feel victimised as they were able to use their bus passes on the original bus service, which allowed them to travel for free.

The service will run on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons initially, with five half-hourly departures operating a round robin service. Passengers will be able to hail the service at any point.

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Reyna Knight, one of the councillors who has been working to find a solution to the pensioners’ dilemma, said: “A lot of effort has gone into getting this service started and I hope that it will be well-used by those whose service was curtailed earlier this year. It will last as long as it is used. I hope everyone will support this service.”

Publicity leaflets will be posted out to all local households on the route in the coming weeks which will include full details of the service. There will also be some trial vouchers offering free journeys.

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