‘The bus service this summer has been a disgrace - and now I’m losing my route to work’

A number of key bus routes will be impacted by the cuts starting next month

The announcement by First West of England that a number of Bristol bus services are changing or being withdrawn altogether has sparked surprise and anger among passengers.

One of the key services being withdrawn from October 9 is the number 5 from the city centre to Downend via St Werburgh’s, Eastville, Stapleton and Fishponds.

Although a new 47 service is being introduced to cover some sections of the old route, it’s only a partial replacement for the popular number 5.

Bristol World has spoken to passengers using some of the key services being withdrawn on October 9 and we’ll be publishing their views in the coming days.

The first is Pat Bessell who lives in Stapleton and relies on the number 5 bus to get to work.

Pat Bessell relies on the number 5 bus for work but it’s one of the services being withdrawn

What the passengers say: Pat Bessell from Stapleton

The end of the number 5 will affect me quite badly because I need to get the bus to work. I’m semi-retired but I work part-time and I get the number 5 into town to get another bus to Filton.

It already takes me about an hour to get to work. It’s also going to affect a lot of people for shopping.

The service this summer has been a disgrace and I don’t believe it’s because of the lack of drivers or reduced numbers of passengers, as the bus company says.

They invest money in training but the bus drivers still have to work split shifts - I know drivers who leave for work at 5am and get home at 10pm after split shifts. They’re leaving and getting better paid jobs as HGV drivers, where they can earn twice as much.

My father worked on the buses in Bristol for 40 years and it’s sad to see how the service has gone downhill, it’s a disgrace, but who do you complain to?

Councillors are useless so the only thing we can do is complain to the Traffic Commissioner who issues the licences, that’s my view.

I can’t work from home because I’m a welder trainer and I had to get to work even in the pandemic.

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

I can drive still but I don’t bother and I need the number 5 service. I know people living near me in Stapleton who are over 70 and they have to go shopping in Fishponds and they’ll now be struggling to get there.

It’s unbelievable. So many people use the number 5 to go to IKEA, Fishponds and Downend through St Werburgh’s. It’s a very useful route.

In fact, it has been a route for 70 years. It was the 139 and then it was the number 19 which went as far as Ashton Gate because I would use it to get to and from the City matches.

It has been the number 5 for years as the city centre to Downend via Fishponds and it’s a much-loved route. It’s just ridiculous taking that one off. I know a lot of old age pensioners who use it to go to Fishponds via Blackberry Hill - it really is an essential service.

I can work my way around some of the other services being withdrawn by FirstBus, but this one is a crucial one for a lot of people and it makes no sense at all.