Bus services to be overhauled from September

Number 73 Bus in Bradley Stoke.

Significant changes are to be made to bus services in Bradley Stoke from September, following the decision of Wessex Connect to discontinue the U7 and U8 that currently provide the only daytime services between the south of Bradley Stoke and Bristol city centre.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has announced the introduction of a new number 74 service, which will replace the existing evenings and weekends-only 73B service and “run at all times [of the day]”. The new service, to be operated by First Group, will run along the same route as the existing 73B, with a 20-minute frequency during the day on weekdays.

At the same time, the 73 service, also operated by First Group, will have its frequency cut from “every 12 minutes” to “every 20 minutes” during the day from Monday to Friday.

Along common sections of the 73/74 routes, i.e. between the Aztec West Roundabout and Manor Farm Roundabout on Brook Way, and along Orpheus Avenue, there will be a combined frequency of “every 10 minutes” during the day on weekdays, “every 15 minutes” during the day on Saturdays and “every 30 minutes” on Sundays, public holidays and in the evenings.

Stops on Brook Way between Manor Farm Roundabout and Orpheus Avenue will, however, see a drop in frequency from “every 12 minutes” to “every 20 minutes” during the day on weekdays, while those on Braydon Avenue (previously served by the U7 and U8) will be left with no direct connection to Bristol city centre.

Passengers travelling from Bradley Stoke North to the city centre are likely to see their journey times increased by at least five minutes if they choose to take the new 74 service (compared to the 73), due to the longer route length around Bradley Stoke South and the time taken to pass through the Willow Brook Centre.

The X73 peak hours-only express service will remain unaffected by the changes.

One Bradley Stoke South bus campaigner, Helen, told The Journal:

“I’m really pleased that this has been agreed (although the timetables are yet to be published). However, I’m disappointed that it does not follow the same route as the current U8 and, therefore, leaves those service users in Filton and Little Stoke without public transport and also does not cater for those in Bradley Stoke who need to get to Filton College, Airbus, Rolls-Royce etc.”

“On a more positive note, it is a bus service [for Bradley Stoke South]! I just hope that First Group meet their agreed commitments and that the new service is publicised well to ensure that it becomes well used.”

Conservative Councillors for Bradley Stoke South, Rob Jones and John Ashe, who have been campaigning for an improved local bus network, said:

“We needed something in place for September to ensure that our residents who wish to travel by bus were not left completely stranded once Wessex Connect had withdrawn its U7 and U8 services, as the company had previously announced it planned to do.”

“Officers working in SGC’s Integrated Transport Unit advise that this new 74 service will be a better service for those residents living in the southern part of Bradley Stoke wanting to access the city.”

“We would certainly encourage residents to let us have their comments on this and on other ways that we can work together with the Council and the bus industry to create the sort of comprehensive, affordable and commercially-operated bus network for all of Bradley Stoke because a community of our size really needs it.”

Wessex Connect’s current U7 and U8 services were described as “rubbish” by the then Conservative Mayor of Bradley Stoke Cllr Ben Walker at a meeting of the Town Council’s Planning Committee in April.

Despite that put down, SGC stepped in to subsidise the services until September, in order to allow time for a “commercial” replacement to be organised.

SGC has so far refused to disclose how much it is paying to Wessex Connect for maintaining the services during the interim period, citing “commercial confidentiality”.

Cllr Walker, who has since defected to UKIP, recently blogged that he believes bus services and utilities should never have been sold off and de-regulated by previous Conservative Governments.

The Journal understands that the new 74 service will be subsidised at a similar level to the previous 73B service, which cost local taxpayers £71,127 in the financial year 2010/11.

Related link: Bus services in Bradley Stoke (The Journal)

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  1. What great news for those of us living in the south of Bradley Stoke. The present situation is crazy. On evenings and Sundays we have better public transport than weekdays. I look forward to the 74 service. The route certainly appears to do the business, I hope the timetable is suitable too. It is a shame that Little Stoke and Filton will lose out but this is the problem with commercial operators running public transport.

  2. Good to hear lets hope that the people of Bradley Stoke use the new service. I have been a regular user of the U7 service and to be honest the bus has only picked up a couple of people during the day in Bradley Stoke. On most occasions no one used the bus.

    Remember its First Bus and if they do not get a financial return theywill soon pull out.

    To all Bradley Stoke people USE THE SERVICE OR LOSE IT

  3. Sounds good, a service that will use the town centre and go to the south of BS , I will certainly use it instead of the 73.

  4. Glad to hear we are at last going to get a decent bus service for Bradley Stoke South, that will run weekends as well,

    Also on the same subject i agree with Cllr Ben Walkers comment about the buses that were being run by wessex as rubbish. if more people used the buses they would also have agreed with him.So he should not be mocked for trying to do something for residents of Bradley Stoke

  5. This is great news, I don’t drive so trying to go shopping at Willow Brook during the week either means going in the evening or getting off at Manor Farm Roundabout and walking, and given the weather recently is not fun.

  6. Great news – look forward to seeing plenty more completely empty buses driving past during the day. And then hearing the uproar from people who never used them when the services are later withdrawn due to lack of use.

  7. The addition of the new service is obviously great news for those people living in South Bradley Stoke but it’s pretty terrible news for people who commute to the offices north of Woodlands Road. I work in the RAC and there are also the big offices of Orange and several other large employers.

    If I start at 8am I currently catch the bus at 06:54 but I will now be forced to catch one at 06:36 and get to work 45 minutes early.

    If I finish work at 8:30pm I currently catch the bus home at 20:44 but now I have to wait until 21:16. That’s a 45 minute wait for a bus.

    It’s almost like my commute that can currently stretch up to 2 hours wasn’t long enough. Buses don’t turn up, that’s not unknown so if the 21:16 doesn’t turn up that would leave a dozen or so workers stranded until 22:16 when they finished work at 20:30. It’s really a bit of a wretch to read these timetables.

  8. The timetable on the South Glos web site is very misleading. It appears that Woodlands Lane and Bowsland Way are not covered by the new 74 route.

    But. The preamble at the top of the page makes it clear that the 73 and 74 (from Criibbs Causeway) share the same route until Manor Farm Roundabout at which point the routes split.

    And, of course, similar on the return.

    The Council should be made aware of this and corrrect the timetable immediately.

  9. Moe, The map on the First Group timetable leaflet confirms that the 74 will by-pass Woodlands Lane and Bowsland Way, instead travelling straight down Bradley Stoke Way from the Aztec West Roundabout to the Patchway Brook Roundabout (near Aldi). Looks to me like the preamble at the top of the South Glos timetable is incorrect.

  10. SH. Yes. I agree with you now that I have been on the web-site of Travel Line South West.

    But what about a new bus stop on only one side of Bradley Stoke Way? The schedule (and map) calls it “Patchway Brook (East Bound)” for travel only towards Cribbs Causeway.

    Eastbound surely means on the other side of the road, i.e., travel towards Centre.

    I only hope that the bus drivers will know where they are going because surely their passengers won’t!

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