MetroBus roadworks causing delays of up to 75 minutes for 73 bus

A First West of England bus, pictured in Bristol city centre.

In a startling admission of the impact that the current MetroBus roadworks are having on bus services in the Bristol North Fringe, First Group has warned passengers travelling on its 73 route to expect delays of up to 75 minutes during the morning peak, meaning that a journey from north Bradley Stoke (Newleaze) to the city centre could potentially take around two-and-a-half hours.

A statement published by the operator on 21st November said:

“Lane closures in and around Aztec West and Bradley Stoke Way associated with MetroBus works are causing significant disruptions to services in and around the area.”

“Services 73, X73, 77, 78, 79 are severely disrupted during the peaks. Service 73 in particular is experiencing delays of up to 75 mins during the morning peak.”

Holding out little hope for an early resolution to the issue, the statement concluded by saying: “Completion [is] currently estimated as September 2017.”

The news, which only confirms what passengers have been reporting on social media for many months, comes on top of a catalogue of complaints about the reliability of evening X73 journeys returning from the city centre (detailed in a reader letter in our November magazine).

A further negative development seen since the closure of the nearside lane of Bradley Stoke Way on the approach to the Aztec West Roundabout on 14th November has been frequent reports of journeys on the 73 route being terminated short of their timetabled final destination (be that Cribbs Causeway or Temple Meads). This has seen buses coming from the city centre terminating at Parkway Station, the Willow Brook Centre or Aztec West and similarly (in the reverse order) for buses coming from Cribbs Causeway. On some occasions, the revised destination has been displayed on the bus signage, allowing passengers to decide if they wish to board a bus that will not take them to their desired destination. Other times, however, passengers have been unexpectedly told that the bus is terminating short of its advertised destination and told to get off the vehicle.

One disgruntled passenger tweeted to First on 14th November:

“73 not finishing its route again? Chucked off at Parkway on the way to work, [at the] centre on the way home. This service is a joke.”

When the tweet was copied to the Journal’s Facebook page, one sceptical reader commented:

“Then First Bus can say it’s not profitable and take the 73 off, and we will have to use the MetroBus when it is up and running. We won’t have a choice.”

The Journal has made repeated efforts, via several channels and over a number of weeks, to obtain statements from First, both in relation to the complaints about the issues with the X73 and the curtailed journeys on the 73, but no response had been received by the time our December magazine went to print.

• Bus delayed? Try tweeting First at @FirstBSA and they may be able to offer an explanation.

Related link: Bus Complaints (The Journal)

This article originally appeared in the December 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 10). The magazine is 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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