Bus service to Cribbs Causeway 'does not make sense', council says

The new First Bus low-emission fleet will be rolled-out in Weston over the next few weeks. 

The reinstatement of a bus service linking Portishead and Clevedon to Cribbs Causeway has been ruled out. - Credit: FirstGroup

A bus service linking North Somerset and Cribbs Causeway is unlikely to be reinstated despite valiant efforts to drum up online support.

An online petition calling for a service from Clevedon and Portishead to the Bristol-based shopping centre has been signed by more than 1,500 people so far.

The previous X5 service, offering a direct route to Cribbs from North Somerset, was scrapped in June 2020.

Cllr Don Davies.

Cllr Don Davies has said the council could not afford to run the service. - Credit: Archant

North Somerset Council leader, Don Davies, has stressed that his team has to prioritise other routes given its meagre budget.

Cllr Davies said: "At the moment, the figures show that fewer people are using the buses now than pre-pandemic.

"Given the recent cuts to the area's bus services, my priority is getting residents to and from the hospital and workplace. 

"The cost of running each bus is £180,000 per year, it might sound harsh but we cannot afford to provide a Cribbs service and it does not make sense as it would take customers away from North Somerset and into Bristol."

Recently, the council announced it expected to receive close to £50,000,000 in funding to improve the district's long-teerm bus services as part of the Government's Bus Back Better scheme.

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This came following a series of cuts to services made by the region's chief bus operator, First Bus West of England.

Cllr Davies added: "Passengers have options with changing in Avonmouth to get to Cribbs via the X5 service.

"Two commercial operators have tried it [a direct service to Cribbs] and it has not worked for either of them."

Portishead bus cut meeting

More than 170 residents previously attended meetings with First Bus and NSC regarding the region's bus services. - Credit: Bob Cartwright

Portishead resident, Heather Toms created the petition to reinstate a service to Cribbs.

She explained that she feels North Somerset's second-biggest town, with around 25,000 residents, is being punished for its location on the outskirts of the district.

Mrs Tom stated: "I and many others live just 20 minutes from Cribbs Causeway via the M5 yet we are isolated from shopping there because the council is trying to force us to spend money elsewhere.

"I cannot see why no compromise has been offered. They say no one will use the service but at least 1,500 have signed a petition stating otherwise.

"Run a trial and if no one used the service I would understand but at the moment many are being forced to go into Weston and they just do not want to."

The topic has been raised at both meetings held between First Bus, North Somerset Council, Portishead Town Council and its residents.

The latest meeting was held on April 21 with First Bus representatives listening to concerns about its services, or the lack of.

North Somerset Council did not attend the second meeting after a last-minute cancellation due to illness.

First Bus has been approached for comment on its plans for North Somerset's bus services following the meeting but is yet to reply.

To sign Mrs Toms' petition, visit www.change.org/p/north-somerset-council-reinstatement-of-the-portishead-to-cribbs-causeway-bus-service-87d5067c-6be6-47fa-b3ba-066f83fc598e