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First West of England said it would be replacing the former X3, X3a and X4 service

First West of England’s plans to cut bus services will “disproportionately impact” vulnerable and disabled local residents, a councillor has said.

The company said its route via Portishead Marina, in North Somerset, would stop from 30 January.

It said this was due to parked vehicles that block the route.

However, Paul Gardner, vice chair of Portishead Town Council, said their claim about major parking issues was “a historical red herring”.

“The Marina area was badly designed in the first place so traffic congestion will always be an issue. But the council is not aware of any recent major issues with buses being able to get through,” Mr Gardner said.

North Somerset councillor Huw James said he was “disappointed” with the withdrawal of the service.

‘Distraught’ residents

“I hope First Bus reconsiders the changes they’ve made and reprioritises to become a customer-centred bus operator.”

Mr James added: “Portishead Town Council and North Somerset Council committed a considerable amount of revenue and capital to make this route work for First Bus by introducing yellow lines and hiring enforcement officers.”

He explained North Somerset Council was looking into tendering alternative supported bus services to connect disadvantaged residents but added bus users would “really feel the impact of First Bus’ decision to axe our existing vital services”.

Mr Gardner added there were “many distraught elderly and vulnerable residents from the marina area who will no longer be able to use public transport to get to medical appointments” or access facilities like the the Post Office on the High Street.

First West of England said it would be replacing the former X3, X3a and X4 service with a new X4 from the end of the month, which would not go via the marina.

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