Bristol Uni student leads bus change campaign
A STUDENT from the University of Bristol is calling on local residents to support his petition to change the way that bus services are operated in the city.
Max Langer, a second year film student, moved to Bristol in 2016 and is calling on Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, Regional Mayor Tim Bowles, Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority to work towards a bus franchising scheme for Bristol. He was inspired to launch his petition in October 2018 after regularly having to walk from Clifton to Knowle for work as a result of buses being late or not turning up at all.
Max hopes that his petition will give Bristol the chance to take back control of its buses as a result of the Bus Services Act 2017, which devolved powers to regional mayors to establish bus franchising schemes. This allows the authority to decide the routes and timetables that the city needs before bus companies then bid to run them.
Speaking to Henleaze & Westbury Voice about his petition, Max said that although he has always been politically engaged, he has found the experience a bit of a rollercoaster and wants to make a change for the better.
He said: “I had been angry about the buses for quite a while, and I decided to look into ways that things could be made better. I read about the franchising option that is used in London, and following the bus protest which was announced in October, it kicked off an idea after I realised how many people shared my desire for change.
“I set the petition live and initially only expected a couple of hundred signatures in total, but support started coming in immediately and within a couple of days I already had hundreds of signatures, which was amazing.
“I’m hoping we can effect some change, and everyone around the city seems to be really supportive.
"The word has spread thanks to social media, and I’ve had people contact me to ask how they can get involved, and so many people have shared the poster within their communities and workplaces.
“People have really come together to share their concerns and make a difference, and when you ask people about their experiences of using buses in Bristol, 99% want change and so I’m very glad of the support.”
As the Henleaze and Westbury Voice went to print, the petition was just a few hundred signatures short of the 3,500 needed for it to be debated and voted on by councillors. Max is hoping that this will happen at the next meeting in April. The final decision on the future of Bristol’s buses will ultimately be decided by the West of England authority.
To find out more about Max’s petition, visit: https://www.change.org/p/bristol-city-council-take-control-of-bristol-s-buses