Free travel offers for people in Bristol

Councillor Don Alexander is pictured, smiling, outside City Hall with College Green and trees in the background.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Don Alexander, Cabinet Member for Transport and Labour Councillor for Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston ward.

Walking, cycling, and active travel are great ways to incorporate physical activity in our daily lives. Just 20 minutes of exercise a day can be long enough to reap the rewards, helping to ease stress, reduce the risk of depression, and increase productivity. That could easily be achieved in a walk to the shops, a scoot to school, or a short cycle ride to the office.

I regularly travel into City Hall by walking and taking the bus or by hopping on an e-scooter, and I find it a great way to start a busy day.

We’re helping people in Bristol to travel more actively where they can and save money by giving out free travel offers. This includes free bike and e-bike loans, cycle training, bus and train taster vouchers, and car club credit. This is a great opportunity to try out new ways of travelling for free while looking after your wellbeing. The offers are open to anyone who lives or works in Bristol, so I would encourage people to give it a go and sign up today.

People in Bristol have already been benefitting from these offers and we’ve given out over 15,000 since the scheme launched last year. And it’s having a measurable impact; as part of the Big Bristol Travel Challenge the council ran with Sustrans in July, we recorded a total of 6,269 sustainable journeys. Of these, 2,988 were by walking and 1,718 were by cycling. In all, this change over the month saved 2,341Kg of Co2 emissions as well as people saving £3,575 in travel costs.

I’d love to see more of us making the most of the offers this summer to get around the city to enjoy the many exciting events that are taking place.

I know that it’s not always possible to leave the car at home, but it’s important to remember that together our small actions can make a big difference, not only to our own lives, but to the health of our environment and the people around us.

Air pollution affects everyone, after all. In Bristol, exposure to nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter were estimated to contribute to around 300 deaths a year, before the introduction of the Clean Air Zone. This is something that we must continue to work together to reduce and leaving the car at home just once a week can make a big difference. We can all do our bit to help keep Bristol’s air clean. 

Two people are pictured, smiling, holding bicycles on Bristol Harbour. The Harbour and M-Shed museum are seen in the background.

Swap four wheels for two

While many people feel comfortable getting around on two wheels, for others cycling can feel daunting for many reasons. Loss of confidence on a bike, not having the equipment, or perhaps having never had the chance to learn – we are offering support to help you overcome these challenges and give cycling a go.

As part of our free travel offers, you can get a free loan bike for up to a month to try out a bike before investing in one yourself. We have a range of different bikes available to try including standard cycles great for everyday use, e-bikes that give you an extra boost going up the hills, and folding bikes that are convenient for small spaces or commuting by train.

There’s something to suit every type of rider. Also available is free cycle training to help give you more confidence on a bike. Make the most of a guided ride to help you find the best cycle route for your daily commute or take part in a Bikeability skills course. Find out more about free support for cycling.

Using public transport

Using some of the many public transport options in Bristol might also be a good option for you. You can give the bus or train a go with taster vouchers, helping you explore some of your local stations and routes for free.

If you’re not sure what route is the best for you, take a look at the useful Travelwest Journey planner or sign up for a free one-to-one travel planning appointment with our specially trained Travel Advisors.

Two people are pictured standing at a bus stop, a blue double decker bus is pictured on the left of the image. The bus has an automated sign reading: Emerson's Green 48.

Car clubs

If you live or work in the city centre, joining a car club could be a great way to make those occasional trips when you really need a car.  With over 25 cars across the city centre, give it a go with some free car club credit.

And get set for Cycle September

With September not far off, I’d urge you to get involved in this annual celebration of cycling. Cycle September is a month-long national competition from Love to Ride, which aims to get people cycling more often. This is a fun competition with no pressure on you to compete; you can either log your rides on the Love to Ride website or download the app. You’ll accumulate points for each ride you do and can win a range of great prizes including a £4,000 holiday. We’ll be announcing more on how to get involved very soon.