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Bristol Free Bus

Bristol in the South West has one of the highest ticket prices for public transport in the UK outside of London. A group of local transport campaigners decided that the only way to take on the bus companies in Bristol was to set up their own. The concept is simple provide a bus service that is initially ran by public and private donations resulting in a free for user service.

On June 11th this became a reality, after raising nearly £10,000 the free bus opened running on Saturdays in a loop from Bristol Temple Meads, through the City Centre and back to Temple Meads train station. There are no fares just an honesty box as you get on the bus, in the first day of service donations were more than enough to cover the cost of running the bus for the day.

Senior Regional Organiser Alan Valentine and Regional Organiser Mike Wheeler from Western Region were there for the maiden journey. Alan said “it’s amazing that the first route was standing room only people seemed pleased to have a choice that was free. It meant that those without much money didn’t have to walk for nearly 30 minutes to get to the shopping centre this can be an issue for the disabled, the elderly or those with small children”

The overall aim is to expand the service to other parts of the city giving the residents the routes they want. The routes will be based on the towns within Bristol where the current profit making routes only take you in and out of the city Centre.

Agreement signingBefore the first Bus left Bristol Free Bus signed a full collective Bargaining agreement with TSSA to represent its entire staff at all grades and in all rolls. The Western Region Divisional Council also voted unanimously to affiliate to the organisation. TSSA in the Western Region are looking forward to working with the Free Bus in the future.