Yesterday, I met with Doug Claringbold, Managing Director of First West of England, at First’s Lawrence Hill depot. We discussed First’s ongoing recruitment drive, subsidies for non-commercially viable routes, the role of WECA in supporting and enhancing services, and the decarbonisation of the bus fleet. We both agreed that there is still some way to go, both in terms of driver numbers and in terms of First’s services, but that the plans are in place for growth and improvement, and that we can look forward to things getting better.
A reliable, affordable and well-used bus service is central to any attempt to make Bristol a greener city. With the Clean Air Zone scheme underway, and the East Bristol Liveable Neighbourhood pilot in the works, we need to make sure that public transport is an attractive and accessible option for people who might otherwise be forced to drive. We’re closer to that now than we were before April, with plenty of services restored and plenty of new drivers, and I look forward to seeing what further progress we can make.