New call for Stapleton buses as Oldbury Court services return

OLDBURY Court will have a bus service again when a new timetable is introduced next month.

But the changes still leave Stapleton without a service – and a petition calling for one to be restored has raised more than 800 signatures.

The city’s main operator First has announced a 47 service “serving Oldbury Court Estate with direct links to Fishponds Road, Stapleton Road, Broadmead and the City Centre”.

Buses will run twice an hour on weekdays and once an hour on Saturdays, with no Sunday service.

The service starts on Monday April 8.

First axed the only bus serving the estate, which was also called the 47, last year, only six months after introducing it as a “partial replacement” for the 5, which also served parts of Eastville and Stapleton.

Stapleton bus petition

A petition calling on operators First and Transpora and Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who has responsibility for regional transport planning, to come up with a service, either subsidised or commercially run, through Stapleton up Bell Hill.

The petition, set up by Eastville ward councillor Marley Bennett, had more than 875 signatures as the Voice went to press.

Cllr Bennett said: “Stapleton residents have been left cut off since the withdrawal of all bus services running through the neighbourhood.

“Despite only being a short distance from Bristol City Centre, and there being a number of bus services that run alongside the parallel Fishponds Road, no buses currently run up Bell Hill leaving residents cut off.

“This particularly negatively impacts people who do not drive, people with disabilities or ill-health, and visitors to Elm Tree Farm. We should also be encouraging people to travel sustainably – but this can only be done if people have a bus service that they can rely on.”

The petition can be found here.

A meeting for anyone who wants to get involved in the campaign to bring back Stapleton’s bus service takes place at the Masons Arms in Park Road on Sunday March 17, at 2pm.

New ‘direct’ 48x and 49x services

First has also announced a shake-up for the 48 and 49 service between Fishponds and the city centre, from Sunday April 7.

Every other bus on each route will bypass Easton and travel to the city centre via the M32 – more information can be found on the First website.

First says this will “reduce journey times by up to 12 minutes.”

The buses will be marked 48x or 49x and operate inbound only – all outbound services from the city centre will still go via Old Market and Easton.

First said the 47 is being “introduced following discussions with the West of England Combined Authority and concerns from local residents, after they were cut from the Bristol network in recent years because of under-usage and a driver shortage as a result of the pandemic”.

Head of network George Burton said: “We’re now firmly in a post-pandemic recovery.”