Campaigners fighting for an improved bus service between Radstock, Midsomer Norton and Bristol are celebrating the news that First Bus has finally agreed to introduce a new hourly direct service on the route.
Conservative councillors in Midsomer Norton have welcomed the announcement, having campaigned for the service to be introduced for several years. Conservative councillors pressed B&NES Council’s Cabinet on the importance of introducing the service at a public meeting only two weeks ago.
The improved 379 service is being funded by developer contributions on a ‘pump-priming’ basis for three years and will be introduced from the 2nd of April this year. It will run hourly from Radstock via Westfield, Midsomer Norton, Paulton and Hallatrow then join existing bus service 376 running through Clutton, Pensford and Whitchurch into Bristol City Centre and Bus Station. The first departure bus from Radstock will be at 07:17 on Mondays to Fridays and 07:34 on Saturdays. The last buses from Bristol will be at 17:35 on Mondays to Fridays and 17:20 on Saturdays.
Midsomer Norton councillor Chris Watt (Cons, MSN Redfield) said:
“We started campaigning for an hourly direct bus service to Bristol for nearly a decade, so it’s great news that this is finally to come to fruition. We launched the campaign because we believe it is vital for our local economy to have a regular, reliable public transport link to our region’s main economic centre. It will benefit commuters into Bristol and hopefully bring more visitors and day-trippers into Midsomer Norton.”
Fellow Midsomer Norton councillor Barry Macrae (Cons, MSN North) welcomed the news, saying:
“This is a great victory for all those who have campaigned for this bus improvement and repeatedly argued the case to the council and First Bus over many years. When negotiations started on the Quality Partnership for this bus route just a couple of weeks ago, we argued that a more frequent bus service between Midsomer Norton and Bristol must form a part of that contact.
“Whilst the hourly service won’t be stipulated in the Quality Partnership agreement, which would guarantee it into the future, we’re nonetheless pleased with this outcome and would like to thank the Council’s transport officers for finally securing this improvement from First Bus.”
The off-peak journey time from Radstock, Midsomer Norton and Paulton to Bristol on 379 is estimated to be 20 minutes quicker than existing 178 service which runs via Keynsham, which will not be affected by these changes.