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The West of England Combined Authority became the responsible authority for supported bus services in 2020 with the three constituent authorities providing funding to the authority. Many will be aware that bus services have not really recovered from the pandemic with passenger numbers down, shortage of drivers, with inflation and fuel increases adding to the problem, this has led to a major increase in the subsidy required by the bus companies.

This in turn has led to the West of England failing to renew many of the contracts for the supported services and has led to the loss of the 84/85 service. Despite campaigning for this much needed service it now appears inevitable that the 84/85 service will be replaced by Direct Response Transport, this is like a dial a ride minibus service that will be provided by WESTlink.

Further details on the service are to follow but essentially service will be provided by an app or phone, with the service picking up within one hour. The service will not at this time operate outside the South Gloucestershire area, however, we have been able to gain the concession that it will operate to KLB for sixth formers and those without transport. We continue to make representations for a concession to Wotton.

The new service was due to commence on the 1st April, but an extension has been made to the 84/85 service till 3rd June.

John ONeill
Councillor for the Charfield Ward