New bus service launched after pensioners protest at cuts
PENSIONERS who were left stranded following council cuts to bus services in Portishead have been thrown a lifeline.
Nailsea and District Community Transport (NDCT) has been working with Portishead Town Council to launch a new "round robin" bus service into the town centre.
The move comes after North Somerset cut the 692 service from Nailsea to Portishead, which used to call at South Road and Port Marine, in April as part of budget cuts.
The decision prompted an outcry from residents – many of whom were elderly – who launched a petition objecting to the cuts, claiming it was the only bus that called into the area and took them into the town centre to do their shopping.
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Portishead councillors Reyna Knight and Alan McMurray got in contact with the community transport group which agreed to operate a twice-weekly service to fill the gap.
The new service will launch on January 8 and cost £1 per journey and give people access to Waitrose and Lidl and the High Street shops.
Ms Knight said: "I am delighted that a service has been reinstated in this area.
"A lot of people in the area who relied on the service are elderly and do not have cars.
"This new service will provide a much-needed link into the town centre."
The bus will operate on Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings, with half-hourly departures and passengers can "hail and ride" the service along the route. As it is being run by Nailsea and District Community Transport, passengers will not be able to use their Diamond Travelcards.
Wheelchairs and other requirements such as shopping trolleys can be catered for but passengers need to organise this in advance.
North Somerset Council deputy leader and executive member for transport, Elfan Ap Rees, said: "We are very pleased that NDCT has stepped up to the plate to offer this service.
"We want to encourage and develop more community transport across North Somerset to plug viability gaps in commercial services.
"I hope local residents will support this initiative."
For more details, contact the council's public transport team on 01934 426 711 or Nailsea and District Community Transport on 01275 855 552.