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Council leader writes to Metro Mayor on new transport arrangements

Councillor Kevin Guy

Bath & North East Somerset Council leader, Councillor Kevin Guy, has written to Dan Norris, the Metro Mayor for the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), asking him to take three specific actions to improve public transport in Bath and North East Somerset.

The move follows the WECA Committee meeting held on Wednesday 18 January to agree transport arrangements for the region, including changes to supported bus services and the implementation of a new Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) system.

The letter, dated 19 January 2023, reads:

“As I said at Joint Committee yesterday, I really want to see the new on-demand minibus system be a success.  To achieve that, we will all need to work together with single focus to fundamentally change our failing transport system into an integrated transport network which successfully serves our communities.

“We in B&NES have committed to spending additional funds from our budgets to ensure as comprehensive a network as possible, as well as the continuation of five services within NE Somerset to support our communities as they transition across to the new Demand Responsive Transport system.

“I now ask you, Dan, as the leader of the transport authority, to do likewise and commit funds from your multi-million Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) allocation to the following three actions, which are critical for the success of DRT:

  1. Award contracts for the following new services within NE Somerset, which reflect local needs and priorities, and will provide a vital spinal bus link for our communities:
  •    517     Chew Magna – Wells
  •    518     Midsomer Norton – Radstock
  •    519     Keynsham Circular
  •    522     Odd Down to Brislington
  •    526     Chew Valley Link
  •    527     Chew Magna – Anchor Road, Bristol
  1. Ensure effective engagement with all affected B&NES communities, in a way that has not happened to date, on the final design of the new BSIP bus routes and DRT, to give the schemes the highest chance of success, despite the rapid speed of their implementation.
  2. Allocate sufficient resource to help local people make the switch to DRT, by engaging fully with local communities to raise awareness and support the transition to using the unfamiliar new system, and publish a comprehensive funding and transition plan so that local authorities can effectively support all the activities identified.

“We need to collectively demonstrate to our communities that we have dedicated both time and resource to ensure the success of this initiative, and therefore I would request that all future meetings of the Transport Planning and Housing Board are made public, so people see the ongoing work being undertaken to achieve a successful transport network, and hold us to account on the commitments we have jointly made.”

The West of England Combined Authority Committee agreed new arrangements for the region’s public transport system when it met on 18 January.  The committee report can be downloaded from the combined authority’s website.

To find out more about Demand Responsive Transport, badged ‘West Link’, visit

The council’s news release, which lists the bus services which will be impacted by the new arrangements, is available on our newsroom.

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