Users of First West of England’s 73 and X73 bus routes have complained that the services have become “utterly shocking” and “unreliable” since the latest timetable change on 4th September.
Things got off to a poor start over the first couple of days when a failure of First’s IT system led to drivers on some routes in Bristol being unable to charge passengers for tickets or follow the new timetables.
As part of the changes, the frequency of the 73 service was reduced to ‘every 15 minutes’ during peak times (previously ‘every 12 minutes’), but there have been numerous reports of buses being cancelled or not turning up on time, with one passenger reporting a wait of an hour for a bus from Bradley Stoke to Bristol.
The 73 service was also extended to Bristol Temple Meads Station, which one reader has claimed has contributed to the problems due to the longer overall route.
The ‘peak hours only’ X73 service has also been the subject of complaints about cancelled journeys and ‘no shows’.
There have also been changes to the stops served by the 73 & X73 in the city centre, but passengers have reported that drivers have sometimes been using the ‘old’ stops, resulting in them missing their intended bus.
Scores of passengers have taken to social media to express their anger in messages directed at First. One, Emily S, wrote:
“@FirstBSA My 73 bus has been either late or just not showed up virtually every day for 3 weeks! I’m late for work again! What’s going on?!”
Another, Kellie H, wrote:
“@FirstBSA Since the timetable change the 73 service has been utterly shocking! So infrequent and unreliable…”
The Journal is today launching a new survey of readers’ travel experiences, with the intention of building up an evidence base that can be presented to service operators, local councils and regulators.
We are asking users of the 73 and X73 services to record any issues, either here on our website (by leaving a comment on this article), on The Journal’s Facebook page (by sending a message or leaving a comment on this post), via The Journal’s Twitter feed or by texting The Journal on 01454 300 400.
Please be sure to tell us which service you were using, the direction of travel (e.g. to/from city centre or Cribbs Causeway) and which stop you were using.
@FirstBSA Can you clarify bus stops for X73 for evening journeys from the centre? Busses not stopping at correct stops!
— Sarah Irwin (@sarahhill74) September 14, 2016
@FirstBSA Waiting at Eagles Wood for 73 towards Temple Meads. No sign of any buses in the last 40 mins. Any idea what the problem is?
— Cat (@lurkingcat) September 16, 2016
@FirstBSA Just wondering when are buses gonna be normal again? 73 is now late from a few mins to more than 30mins after the timetable change
— Red Panda (@foREvER2017) September 17, 2016
@FirstBSA There aren't enough 73 services now the bus timetable has changed, I'm late to work most mornings now 🙁 not happy!
— Annick Ellis-Smith (@sneakieneakie) September 19, 2016
@FirstBSA My 73 bus has been either late or just not showed up virtually every day for 3 weeks! I'm late for work again! What's going on?!
— Emily S (@ems_stone) September 21, 2016
@FirstBSA since the timetable change the 73 service has been utterly shocking! So infrequent and unreliable 9.50 from temple no show
— kellie hutt (@kellsbells89) September 21, 2016
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