MetroBus planning application gets green light from councillors

Two-and-a-half years of roadworks in the Bradley Stoke area set to start next spring.

Rapid Transit Bus

South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) approval of the planning application for the £102m North Fringe to Hengrove Package (NFHP) MetroBus on 9th September, following a similar decision by Bristol City Council on 27th August, has cleared the way for plans to be submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) for full approval.

According to a report published by SGC in June, a decision from the DfT can be expected by February or March next year, and, subject to this being positive, construction will start in “spring 2015”, with the first MetroBus services running by “summer 2017”.

Within Bradley Stoke, the project will see a number of sections of new bus lane constructed along Bradley Stoke Way, including a long stretch running from the end of the existing bus lane adjacent to the Willow Brook Centre up to Patchway Brook Roundabout (near Aldi). There will also be major changes on the approach to the Aztec West Roundabout and reconfiguration of the Woodlands Lane junction.

The proposed £14.5m Stoke Gifford Transport Link (SGTL, known locally as the Stoke Gifford By-Pass) will form a crucial section of the MetroBus route, linking the southern end of Bradley Stoke Way with the A4174 Avon Ring Road, emerging between UWE and junction 1 of the M32.

South Gloucestershire councillors have agreed that delivery of the SGTL will proceed even if the DfT fails to confirm funding for the MetroBus project.

An indicative construction timeline submitted with the MetroBus planning application suggests that construction work on the Bradley Stoke section of the route could start as early as April 2015 and last for 30 months. Construction of the SGTL is likely to start in summer 2015 and be completed by summer 2017.

Noting that all planning permissions for the MetroBus network – NFHP, Ashton Vale to Temple Meads and the South Bristol Link – have now been granted, Cllr Brian Allinson, Chair of the West of England Joint Transport Board said:

“This is a hugely important day for the MetroBus project. With the entire MetroBus network now approved, we can rapidly move forward in delivering these vital public transport improvements.”

“The MetroBus network will link key areas through a modern public transport network that is faster, more reliable and more comfortable than existing bus services.”

“The success of the Greater Bristol Bus Network shows how improvements to public transport can increase passenger numbers and customer satisfaction, and MetroBus will build on this to create a step-change in public transport provision in the West of England.”

“Construction on the MetroBus network will begin later this year, and the project will work closely with local residents to keep them informed as work commences.”

The councils funding the MetroBus network say it will improve journeys to locations that are currently poorly served by public transport, enabling thousands more people to access key employment, education and leisure destinations.

It is also claimed that MetroBus journeys will be significantly quicker than existing bus journeys. For example, by 2017 the 73 service from Bradley Stoke is predicted to take 48 minutes to reach Bristol city centre, whereas MetroBus journeys are expected to take only 26 minutes – a saving of 22 minutes for every passenger.

Organisations that wrote in support of the NFHP applications include Business West, Bristol International Airport, Invest Bristol and Bath, the University of Bristol, the University of the West of England and North Bristol SusCom.

North Fringe to Hengrove Package MetroBus routes and journey time from Bradley Stoke.

Above: The planning application predicts that the MetroBus journey time from Bradley Stoke to the city centre will be 26 minutes (saving 22 minutes over the 48 minutes that the current no. 73 service is expected to take in 2017). [Click image to enlarge]

North Fringe to Hengrove Package MetroBus routes and frequencies.

Above: MetroBus routes proposed in the planning application. Asked about the apparent lack of a direct service between Aztec West / Bradley Stoke and Bristol Parkway Railway Station, a spokesperson told The Journal: “The service will be commercially operated and therefore it will be the decision of the operator(s) to define the services that operate across the network.”  [Click image to open as PDF]

Related link: North Fringe Rapid Transit (The Journal)

This article originally appeared in the October 2014 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,450 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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  1. Eventually, you’ll be able to access the motorway network via Aztech West roundabout, or the SGTL to the ring road and M32. A slight improvement.

    It is a shame that MetroBus is not a light rail system, but simply a bus service on separate or priority controlled roads. I’m sure that the original Tram system 20 years and 10 years ago would have been better.

  2. That’s good news. A place like Bradley Stoke needs this type of transport. I know people like to have 3 or 4 cars per houses…but Bradley Stoke needs better public transport and less cars.

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