The survey is part of a review of the 19 services the council financially supports in order to inform decisions on how they might change next year.
Most of the bus services in Bristol are commercial services which are run by private bus companies. The council has no direct control of these routes, but it can step in to support connections which are felt to be socially necessary for communities and those that commercial operators say are not viable due to low passenger numbers.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:
“With MetroBus on the horizon and the prospect of a much higher quality bus network through the West of England Devolution deal, our public transport systems are improving as we work to join up more areas of the city. However, the transition is set against challenging budgetary constraints, so we need to carefully assess everything we support using public funds. At the same time, we are keen to hear from passengers about their experiences to see how routes can be improved.
“Whilst we have limited control over commercial bus services, we will work with operators wherever we can to improve journeys and maintain essential connections. For example, we are in talks with First and other operators about recent changes to commercial services.”
Bristol City Council does not pay anything towards keeping the commercial services running, such as daytime services on main routes into the city, but it does invest significant funding to improve and maintain bus priority, stops, and electronic real-time information. The council reimburses bus companies for free travel by concessionary fare cardholders, which is a government requirement.
Financially supported services are known as Supported Bus Services and this year’s budget available for these is over £2m. The services provided by this money include orbital routes such as the 505/6 (around Southmead Hospital, Easton and other areas), local shopper services like the 511/2/3/4 (Knowle, Bedminster and Brislington), and add-on commercial links, incorporating early morning, late evening and Sunday services.
This review excludes the Park and Ride services, which are also supported by the Council, due to new operator contracts with First starting this September.
To submit your views, please visit: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/SupportedBus. Hard copies of the survey will be available on the buses the consultation is reviewing and through local neighbourhood partnerships.