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This week in Bristol: Bristol bus blow brings backlash

More bus services have been axed by First Bus due to driver shortages.

This Week in Bristol

This week in Bristol, weary Bristol bus users have been dealt another blow as First announced it would be pausing a total of 1,450 journeys each week across 19 of its bus routes until at least the spring, potentially cancelling them altogether, due to the driver shortage.

This is just the latest example of shortages affecting services in recent months, after 18 services were permanently axed in the summer. Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire has slammed the company, demanding answers as to how they will continue to adequately serve Bristolians who depend on buses.

The company has said it is better to have a reduced timetable than passengers waiting for ‘ghost buses’ that don’t turn up due to a lack of drivers. The blow for bus users comes after Marvin Rees committed another £15 million to developing plans for a future mass transit system, which could be an underground network. 

Dan Norris, the mayor of the West of England said the news was “disappointing” but that he understood the operator’s dilemma.  “There is no short-term fix on drivers but I have invested in a big recruitment and training exercise to encourage people to drive buses,” he added. Norris has also suggested that students in the region could drive buses.

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⚠️  Labour MP Darren Jones demanded answers from Amazon after a 63-year-old Bristol worker was given a ‘final warning’ based on an algorithm tracking his ‘productivity’. Jones took Amazon’s European head of public policy Brian Palmer to task over the company’s approach to workers rights in a select committee meeting, refuting the company’s claim that it “surveils its goods and not its workers”.

☎️ A woman in her 30s was killed on Wednesday in a collision between her bike and a lorry on Whitchurch Lane in Hengrove. The police are calling for witnesses, and anyone with dashcam footage to call 101, quoting reference number 5222275628.

Bristol midwives will be protesting ‘unsafe’ working conditions on College Green this weekend, saying they must be improved to ensure retention of staff and safety of patients. One midwife who shared her story with Bristol Live said after deducting childcare and fuel costs, she was earning less than the minimum wage.

?️ Marvin Rees has stated he’s likely to “throw his hat in the ring” and stand as an MP once his tenure as mayor ends. He told BBC Radio Bristol that his “political journey is not yet over”, and that he would stand in the new constituency of Bristol North West.

⛔ The Barton Hill Tenants Association building, which had been due for restoration to give it a new lease of life as a community venue, is now tipped to be demolished. A feasibility study by the council claimed there was not enough available funding for the project and it wouldn’t be “value for money”.

The Bristol to Portishead train line is due to be reopened after more than 60 years. Images of the line, which will go via Pill, have been released as well as details about the service; the trains will run hourly, and the journey from Temple Meads to Portishead is expected to take 23 minutes.

✂️ Around 70 staff in Bristol City Council may lose their jobs and be asked to compete for fewer roles created by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) in a cost cutting move. Certain powers in planning and transport are being transferred from the council to WECA, meaning around 100 jobs could be cut, with only 30 roles planned for replacement in equivalent WECA departments.

The council has proposed moving Bristol’s Central Library in its public consultation for cost-cutting. As part of plans to save £45.7 million over the next five years, it has asked whether moving the library from its Grade I listed building, where it has been housed for 116 years, to ‘another central site’.

Solutions and Successes ?

?  A crowdfunder for single dad Samuel Smith and his sons, whose story was covered by the Cable earlier this year, has gone viral after national coverage by the BBC. The fund was set up by a former councillor after the broadcaster included Sam’s story in their cost of living coverage, and at time of writing stands at more than £14,000, after an initial target of £1,000. If you want to contribute you can pledge here.

✊? The leaders of the Bristol Bus Boycott are to be awarded ‘Freedom of the City’ status, and an apology has been offered from the Lord Mayor to Guy Reid-Bailey OBE. Reid-Bailey, alongside fellow activists including the late Roy Hackett OBE, helped overturn a ban by Bristol Omnibus Company on employing Black and Asian drivers and conductors.

The four electric cranes on the harbourside, the only ones in England known to be in working order, have been given Grade II listing status. The cargo-handling cranes were erected in 1951, and played a significant role in Bristol’s industrial history.

Bristol band Idles have been nominated for the Grammy Awards for the first time.They’re nominated in two categories: Best Rock Album for their fourth studio album ‘Crawler’, and Best Rock Performance for their song ‘Crawl!’

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