Bristol City Council steps in to re-establish vital bus link
Bristol City Council is pleased to announce the new 520 bus service which will operate along most of the route previously covered by the number 20 service.
The number 20 bus was withdrawn on 31 August by operator First Bus based on their view that the route was not proving commercially viable. Following a large number of concerns expressed by local people about the loss of the service, particularly around links to Bristol Royal Infirmary, the Oncology Centre and other key destinations in the city centre, the Council initiated discussions with several local bus operators on options for providing a replacement service.
As a result of these discussions, the City Council has reached agreement with First to run the new 520 service. The Council has reallocated existing subsidies on other routes run by First to fund the new service.
The 520 will provide an hourly service from 06:30 to 18:00 between Westbury on Trym and Lewins Mead in the Centre on Mondays to Saturdays. It will operate along the previous number 20 route between the Centre as far as Westbury providing key links to the BRI and other hospitals.
Assistant Mayor for Transport, Councillor Mark Bradshaw said:
“The response to the withdrawal of Service 20 made it evident that an important public transport link between Westbury-on-Trym and Bristol city centre was being lost. Other existing services could not be easily adapted to cover the same route. As well initiating action to identify an operator for the new 520 service, I’m glad to say that we have done this without any impact on the limited financial resources the Council has for directly subsidising bus services. We will be monitoring punctuality and reliability on the 520 very carefully to ensure it meets the service standards we have specified and hope that local people will use the new service and report any issues. I am grateful to residents and local councillors for highlighting the impact of losing the Service 20 and to our officers and bus operators in working with me to seek a way of keeping vital bus connections in place.”
Paul Matthews, Managing Director for First West of England, added:
“There was considerable strength of feeling around the loss of Service 20. We understand this and while we would reiterate that it was not possible to retain Service 20 on a commercial basis – as it had not covered its own costs by some margin for some time – we are pleased that the Council been able to find a resolution to this issue. This will no doubt please those who have campaigned hard for a replacement. We have taken steps to implement the replacement Service 520 as soon as possible.”
A Registration has been submitted for the new 520 service to start operation on 15 September. Further details including a timetable and route map will be published shortly.