Fears six-month roadworks will force Bristol bus passengers to ‘walk an extra mile’

‘To get to some bus stops requires an arduous walk for some of an extra mile’

Passengers face up to an extra mile walk to a bus stop for the next six months during £1.7million work to resurface a residential concrete road in south Bristol.

The No 76 is being rerouted from Monday, December 6, while St Peter’s Rise in Headley Park undergoes a long-awaited refurbishment by the city council, with the diversion following the 75 service along Bishopsworth Road, Bedminster Down.

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But local Tory councillor Richard Eddy says it will be a “huge inconvenience” for residents and that many will struggle to continue using the bus.

First Bus, which runs the service, is now considering one potential solution suggested by a resident to start the No 93 – which goes to Hengrove via nearby Hartcliffe Way – earlier in the morning to help commuters.

But it is unlikely to help everyone, and Bishopsworth Cllr Eddy said: “There is no doubt to me that this bus diversion will cause real hardship to local residents, particularly the elderly, disabled and parents with young children.

“Fifteen years ago, when the No 76 bus service was upgraded to ‘Showcase’ status, the route over St Peter’s Rise was diverted over nearby Headley Lane for a similar six months with no discernible difficulties.

“I have raised this issue with the council, which has talked with First Group.

“Looking at a flat map, the alternative route of Bishopsworth Road may look easy to get to, but unfortunately it is divided from Headley Park by a steep and wooded valley.

“To get to some bus stops requires an arduous walk for some of an extra mile.

“The problem seems to stem from the fact that, in the interval, the main entrance to Headley Park Primary Academy has been moved from a side-street onto Headley Lane, creating pressure on on-street parking, particularly when parents drop off and collect their children.

“Consequently, I believe the council is concerned about traffic flows on Headley Lane if a bus diversionary route was provided here and First Group about the punctuality of their No 76 service.”

Bristol City Council cabinet approved the repairs in July as part of a wider programme of road improvements following complaints over many years about the condition of St Peter’s Rise and ongoing engineers’ inspections.

Its surface comprises concrete and Tarmac layers, but when water finds its way to the clay underneath, the road fails in places. St Peter’s Rise will be closed to traffic while the work, expected to last until May, takes place, with individual sections limited to 100 metres of roadworks to minimise disruption.

Vehicles will be diverted via Hartcliffe Way, Hengrove Way and Whitchurch Road, but it is the rerouted 76 bus that has caused the most consternation.

Cllr Eddy says he first raised the issue with council officers shortly after the cabinet decision in the summer but a satisfactory solution had still not been found.

He has passed on a suggestion to council officers from one resident this week to increase the frequency and start time of the 93 service and received a reply to say it was being investigated to see if it was feasible.

A spokesperson for First West of England said: “We do understand the need for our customers in this area to still have access to a service that enables them to get to work on time, therefore are considering options for starting the service 93 earlier in the morning.

“This change to the schedule would, however, have to be agreed with the West of England Combined Authority which is responsible for the public transport network.”

A spokesperson for Bristol City Council said: “The work to resurface St Peter’s Rise is necessary maintenance to this busy transport route through Bishopsworth.”