A new bus service is to be introduced from next Monday (14th January), linking the Willow Brook Centre with Bristol city centre, via the Frenchay campus of the University of the West of England (UWE).
Wessex Red’s number 13 service is being extended to serve Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke, Stoke Lodge and Filton, with a 20 minute frequency Monday through Friday and a half-hourly service on Saturdays.
On Sundays the service will begin from UWE (term time only).
After leaving the Willow Brook Centre, buses will head down Brook Way, then along Braydon Avenue before turning north up Stoke Lane and then south down the A38 Gloucester Road to Filton. From there, the route map shows buses travelling along the Avon Ring Road to MoD Abbey Wood before taking the Cheswick Bus Link into UWE
From UWE, the route passes through Stapleton and Fishponds before approaching the city centre along Stapleton Road and Old Market.
The new service is likely to be welcomed by residents of Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge, who have suffered a much reduced service after the U7 and U8 (also operated by Wessex) were withdrawn last September. It will also reinstate a public transport link between Bradley Stoke and major employers’ sites on the A38, such as Rolls-Royce, Royal Mail and Airbus.
The indirect route taken by the service means that it is unlikely to be attractive to commuters between Bradley Stoke and the city centre, with the peak hours journey time exceeding one hour.
Passengers will hope that the new service will be more reliable than the former U7 and U8, which were condemned as “rubbish” by Bradley Stoke Councillor Ben Walker when Wessex announced plans to withdraw them last April. South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) was forced to step in and support the services with taxpayers’ money between May and September.
SGC initially refused to say how much they were paying Wessex to continue running the U7 and U8 services but a Freedom of Information inquiry by The Journal eventually revealed that £17,763 was handed to the company for operations over the period 20th May to 4th September 2012.
A replacement service, the 74, was introduced by First Group from September 2012. Comments by Journal readers and Twitter users suggest that the reliability of the new combined 73/74 service also leaves something to be desired.
Photo: A Wessex Connect U7 bus at a stop in Webbs Wood Road in March 2012.
Related link: Bus Services in Bradley Stoke (The Journal)
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