‘They say it’s because of a lack of drivers, but we’ve had problems with these buses long before the pandemic’

From October 9, a number of key Bristol bus services are being cut

One of the services being withdrawn from October 9 is the number 96 from Hengrove bus depot to Brislington Square via Tesco Brislington, Broad Walk shops and Knowle West.

Bristol World has spoken to passengers using some of the key services being withdrawn on October 9 and we’ll be publishing their views in the coming days.

We met Teresa Green waiting for the 96 at Broad Walk to get home to Knowle West. She said the infrequency of the service - it runs every two hours - means she only uses it when she really has to because otherwise she ends up having to kill time, often spending additional money in a local cafe as she waits for the return bus.

What the passengers say: Teresa Green from Knowle West

To be quite honest I rarely go up to Broadwalk shopping centre because of the 96 but I had to go to the bank but I’ve had to dilly-dally for two hours to wait to get the bus back home.

When it was the number 36 a few years ago, it was good because it used to go on to Hartcliffe and Withywood but they stopped that.

I’ve stopped going to Morrisons at Hartcliffe because now you need to get two buses to get there from Knowle West since they changed the route.

Then they introduced the 96 every hour, which was OK when it actually turned up but now it’s every two hours.

Bus passenger Teresa Green, who uses the soon to be withdrawn number 96 service

Now, if I go to Broadwalk shopping centre I have to kill time by going to the cafe for a bacon sandwich and cup of tea and spend even more money before going back.

What I’m worried about is all the kids in Knowle West who use the 96 to go to school at Oasis Academy in Brislington and St Brendan’s Sixth Form College - how are they going to manage and how are they going to get home?

The 96 was also useful to go to the Imperial Park shops - there’s a 91 that goes there but it doesn’t go via Broad Walk, it goes through Bedminster.

This is one of the reasons people don’t go to Broadwalk shopping centre these days because so many people in Knowle West rely on the bus.

My dentist is still up here and a lot of people use Specsavers on Broad Walk and also the banks on Wells Road because there are no banks left in Bedminster.

A woman looks out of the window of a First Bus in central Bristol.

If I have to go to the bank, I have to go into town now - I use the M1 bus, which is brilliant, but it still means having to go into town.

I won’t be coming back up to Broadwalk shopping centre until I have to go to the dentist because you have to plan your trip and try and get everything done in the two hours before the bus goes back. We can’t all afford taxis - it costs about £10 to get a taxi from Broad Walk to Knowle West.

They say it’s because of a lack of drivers, but we’ve had problems with these buses long before the pandemic. They had already reduced the service so I think that’s just an excuse for the poor service.

I hope it improves, but I can’t see it. Places like Knowle West are always overlooked when it comes to public services.