First Bus has confirmed that it is to introduce new timetables on many services from Sunday 29th March, including the 73/X73 and X74 routes in Bradley Stoke, in an effort to improve reliability and punctuality.
The news comes four months after an online bus travel survey conducted by The Journal amassed more than 300 complaints about buses failing to run to the published timetable, taking much longer than scheduled to reach their destinations and sometimes failing to turn up at all or terminating short of their final destination.
First has blamed the problems on a 20 percent rise in the number of passengers, worsening traffic congestion and an increase in the number of major roadworks.
To underpin the changes, the company says it is seeking to recruit more than 70 new drivers to work in the city, helping to operate 12 additional buses that will be brought into its fleet at the end of March.
City centre stop changes
All 73/X73/X74 buses will start and terminate at Lewins Mead instead of Colston Avenue to reduce the likelihood of them being caught in congestion around the centre. This will also enable all driver changes to be completed at the end of a journey rather than part-way through.
Service 73/X73 changes
Service X73 buses will no longer cover the section of route between Aztec West Roundabout and Cribbs Causeway, nor will they call at East Filton Sainsbury’s. Instead of the latter, they’ll travel directly along Great Stoke Way.
Two extra vehicles will be used, helping to minimise the impact of traffic congestion. They will mean that the frequency of Monday to Friday peak time journeys on Service 73 can be improved (to every 12-15 minutes). This should avoid the need for journeys to be cancelled, or cut short due to excessive late running as a result of congestion.
The timetable for evening journeys is being overhauled with one of the two extra buses used to ensure that the service during the evening is more punctual and reliable.
Service X74 changes
The timetable is being adjusted to improve the punctuality and reliability of the services. Buses at peak times will be given additional running time and recovery time at the end of journeys to ensure if they are delayed en route there is no knock on effect to subsequent journeys.
There will also be a number of additional Monday to Friday and Saturday evening journeys introduced and a brand new Sunday and Public Holiday timetable is being introduced.
Notably, the new Sunday and Public Holiday timetable, which will see buses running every 30 minutes between 1000 and 1800 hours, will give people in Little Stoke the opportunity to travel on these days, while also providing faster journeys between Bradley Stoke and the city centre.
Finally, a small number of early morning Monday to Friday and Saturday journeys – which are poorly used at present – will be removed from the timetable.
James Freeman, managing director of First West of England, said:
“We are making a whole raft of changes to our network from the end of March in a real effort to tackle the problems we have seen recently with services not running as they should do.”
New timetables for all the affected services will be uploaded to the First West of England website from early March. They will be available in hard copy format from mid-March.
This article originally appeared in the March 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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