SUBSIDISED buses in Yate and Chipping Sodbury have been given a short reprieve after leaders negotiated a deal.

There were fears that up to 33 subsidised bus services – 14 serving South Gloucestershire, six in Yate and Chipping Sodbury – could have been cut this summer with the prospect of looming legal challenge. 

But at a special meeting of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Committee on Tuesday, June 14, it was decided to extend the current bus contracts until April next year to enable an urgent review of the network, including both commercial and publicly funded services.

The decision to continue the existing contracts was put forward in response to proposals from the WECA Mayor to progress new contracts with bus providers that would have seen local services axed across the region at the height of the cost-of-living crisis.

WECA is responsible for bus services, including those “supported routes” subsidised by the local councils. 

Over the past year, there have been numerous cuts to services in South Gloucestershire, including  the T2 and Y2 which connected Thornbury and Yate respectively to Bristol. 

A meeting to discuss and resolve these issues was held in May but adjourned without agreement.

Reconvening on June 14, the council leaders and the Mayor committed to extending the seven-month extension and urgent review after four hours of negotiations.

The review will take account of the impact of the pandemic on the network and will help the authorities to understand the role that the additional funding, awarded by the government to the West of England through the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), can play in providing new and improved services. 
It was agreed at the meeting that all services would be extended, with the cost of three services being met from the three councils, to ensure that services didn’t come to a sudden end this September.

Councillor Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said: “Securing this agreement to protect our bus services while we conduct an urgent wider review is a really positive step forward, providing reassurance to our communities who would otherwise face sudden cuts.

"I look forward to the understanding this review will bring and working together across the region to deliver the services we all need.”