A key bus serving the Chew Valley will continue until July 30 after being allocated up to £70,000 of extra funding from Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The 672 runs to and from Broadmead and Bedminster in Bristol out to the villages of the Chew Valley, including Dundry, Chew Magna, Stanton Drew, West Harptree, and to Blagdon, Redhill and Bristol Airport.
The West of England Combined Authority Committee in January agreed to extend five services in North East Somerset, including the 672, until May 31, to help the transition to the new WestLink demand responsive transport service, which starts on April 3.
Since then, Bath & North East Somerset Council heard concerns from passengers who rely on the 672 route about the impact of the service ending on May 31.
Now, Councillor Sarah Warren, cabinet member for Climate and Sustainable Travel and Councillor Richard Samuel, cabinet member for Resources, have agreed that up to £70,000 of Bath & North East Somerset Council money will be allocated as a matter of urgency to fund the service until July 30, as a one off payment.
Councillor Warren said: “Bus services are vital for our local communities and for many people living on its route, the 672 provides the only way to access work, education, shopping and health appointments. The Chew Valley is rural and geographically spread out and is the only part of B&NES where the WestLink demand-responsive services will not be complemented by any commercial or BSIP funded bus services. This funding will mean that the contract can be extended until the end of July 2023 to help manage the transition to WestLink and protect critical journeys until the end of the school term.”
Councillor Samuel said: “I’m pleased that we have been able to dedicate funding from the council’s limited remaining public transport reserve which would keep services running on this route for an extra two months, on top of the £280,000 we added into our budget last month to extend five routes in North East Somerset for two months. However, the Combined Authority is responsible for contracting socially necessary bus services and we provide more than a million pounds for this through the Transport Levy. This funding can only be a one-off whilst the Metro Mayor gets his demand-responsive transport service up and running.”
The Single Member Decision can be found here