Chew Valley Chamber of Commerce has committed itself to trying to create a new bus link which could revolutionise public transport in the area.
The project arose from a discussion at their last meeting at which Councillor Tony Clarke, Cabinet Member responsible for Transport, made it clear that that resources were limited and there were technical difficulties in persuading bus companies to change their routes. That was the moment members realised if there were to be improvements they would have to start locally.
Vice President Sandy Bell will head a working group which will assess how best to make the new system operate.
“As a business organisation our priority it to help local companies find ways of getting their staff into the Valley but we also recognised the broader community need for residents who want effective links that will take them into Bristol or Bath.”
“We think the answer could be to establish a local mini-bus service, picking people up from our villages and taking them to a point where they can pick up a bus. That might be going over Dundry and linking with the excellent bus services in South Bristol or it could mean going to Whitchurch, which has the benefit of buses which travel both into Bristol and also towards Keynsham and Bath,” she explained.
There are already precedents for a service of this kind. Residents in Wellow have already established their own bus route and acquired a vehicle which is driven by a combination of a professional driver and volunteers.
“We know the Council has some funding available for community transport so we hope to tap into that. But it may be that we all have to work together to raise money and provide drivers. Whatever happens, we need to have a service which is resourced for the long term, rather than having a short trial, so that people can rely on it, whether they are travelling into the Valley for their jobs or working, going to College or just going out for the night in either Bristol or Bath,” added Mrs Bell.