X5 bus service to continue
After extensive negotiations, North Somerset Council and commercial bus company First West of England have reached an agreement to continue a reduced X5 bus service until April 2023.
This follows proposals announced earlier this month that First would withdraw the service from October 2022.
The X5 runs between Weston-super-Mare and Bristol, serving Clevedon and Portishead.
The council, however, has not been able to find a solution to help passengers who use the two other services that First proposed to cut from October 2022: the X2 (Yatton to Bristol) and the 126 (Weston-super-Mare to Wells, serving Locking, Banwell, Sandford and Winscombe). This is due to the significant national shortage of drivers.
The bus service issues in North Somerset are in line with those being faced across the country. As well as the significant national shortage of drivers, passenger numbers on some local routes have failed to recover quickly enough following the pandemic. Central government Covid-19 relief funding is to be withdrawn in October 2022.
From Monday 10 October 2022, the X5 will run every hour between Worle and Portishead High Street between 6.30am and 6.30pm. From Portishead, the service will run every hour between 7.15am and 7.15pm.
Passengers wishing to travel onward into Weston-super-Mare town centre will then need to change buses at Worle using one of four services (X1 / 3 / 7 / 50). A connection to Bristol can be made using the X4 service, and to Nailsea using one of two services (57 / 59).
The council is in talks with the Department for Transport to agree some temporary flexibility in funding to enable it to award First £52,550. This is equal to a quarter of the overall running costs, the amount needed to operate a reduced X5 service between October 2022 and April 2023.