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A citizens’ panel was held to help the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority make tough decisions about how to fund buses in the current economic climate.

To understand more about the role that the panel played and why it is so crucial, some of the key information is outlined below.

So, why a citizens' panel?

The Combined Authority faces big choices. Difficult choices. With a limited pot of money being constantly stretched, which bus services do we fund? What criteria should be used to choose? This is where the citizens’ panel comes in. A cross section of 38 local residents were asked to help create a formula which will guide how decisions are made in the future. The panel did not look at any specific services.

When did it take place and how did the process work?

The Citizens’ Panel met across two sessions in February 2024. The panel were asked to create a set of recommendations about what criteria should be considered when deciding which bus services to fund - this is not related to any specific service.

They spoke about issues generally, discussed them with one another, and then made recommendations about how we should evaluate bus services in the future.

A number of speakers including experts on buses, local organisations, community groups and businesses spoke and held panel discussions so that the panel could understand the issues fully. They explained how the bus industry works, and how bus services can be vital for education, employment, leisure and tourism as well as individuals. There was discussion, questions and tasks to ensure many points of view are considered.

The links to watch the speakers (if permission was provided) can be found below.

What was the outcome?

The aim of the Citizens’ Panel was to get a list of criteria the panel think is important to consider, and which of those should be prioritised. These were presented to Metro Mayor Dan Norris at the end of the second session and they were due to be published on this website in the Spring. However, due to the General Election this has been delayed.