Bus contracts in Bristol face change under council plan

Bus contracts in Bristol could undergo changes, under city council plans.

The Liberal Democrat run-authority wants to set up "quality contracts" so it can better control timetables, routes and ticket prices.

The new contract, if approved, would mean firms would bid for the franchise, where the council sets the parameters.

First, which runs most bus services in Bristol, believes setting up the contracts would be complex and expensive to local taxpayers.

'Cannot carry on'

Cabinet member for transport Tim Kent said: "We have raised with them our grave concern about their withdrawal of some of the routes, some of the services on bank holidays.

"It's not just that, it's the recent changes to the routes on the 20, the 51, the 41. We don't feel they're working in partnership with us, and we do think that it's important the main bus operator in the region works with us.

"I have written to them this week and have made it clear that we believe our relationship with them cannot carry on as it is."

First said it did not run these routes on bank holidays because of council funding cuts.

The bus operator also said it was bearing the costs of taking other routes on a commercial basis which were previously subsidised by the council.

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