Archive for the ‘Transport’ Category

Woods Estate Agents, Bradley Stoke, Bristol

First boss reveals options for the 73 bus service in the MetroBus era

Posted on Wednesday 12th September 2018 at 6:09 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of James Freeman speaking into a microphone.

Bus operator First Bristol says it intends to maintain Bradley Stoke’s 73 bus service at a “good level” following the planned launch of the M1 MetroBus service through the town in January 2019 and has asked local residents to share opinions on what they think would be the optimum route of the service between Aztec West and Parkway Station.

Speaking at a meeting of Bradley Stoke Town Council’s Planning and Environment Committee on 22nd August, James Freeman, managing director of First Bristol, acknowledged that the introduction of the M1, which will run every 10 minutes down Bradley Stoke Way, will have an impact on the number of passengers using the existing 73 and X73 services.

He confirmed a statement previously reported in the Journal that the peak-hours-only X73 service, which runs down Brook Way, will be withdrawn.

In the short term, the main 73 service will be continued at a “good level”, with all buses continuing to serve Gloucester Road to the Centre and Temple Meads, but its frequency is likely to “come down a bit”, possibly to ‘every 20 minutes’ (rather than the present ‘every 15 minutes’).

Responding to concerns that passengers living close to the “western” route through Bradley Stoke (i.e. down Brook Way) might not find it easy to access the new MetroBus service running along Bradley Stoke Way, he hinted that the route of the 73 might be “slightly modified … possibly making it a bit straighter and running more to the west”.

Speaking of the timescale for introducing these changes, Mr Freeman insisted that it is now a “dead cert” that the M1 MetroBus service will start in January 2019 and he named 13th January as the currently projected launch date.

Responding to concerns that the vast majority of passengers on MetroBus will have transferred from existing services, Mr Freeman pointed to the already-running M3 Emersons Green service, which he said had “driven demand” and attracted 20 percent more passengers than predicted.

He noted that the recently introduced T1 Thornbury to Bristol service, which passes along Bradley Stoke Way and operates with a half-hour frequency using MetroBus-style vehicles, has been “quite well received”. However, he stressed that the new M1 service will offer similarly fast journey times to the city centre, operate at three times the frequency and run until at least 11pm.

More: Public asked for views on future route options for the 73 »

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MetroBus adds new service and enhances M3

Posted on Monday 3rd September 2018 at 6:28 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a Bristol MetroBus vehicle parked at Long Ashton Park & Ride.

MetroBus services in the Greater Bristol area are expected to take a significant step forward this month with the introduction of the new M2 service between Long Ashton Park & Ride (P&R) and Bristol city centre and enhancements to the frequency of the existing M3 service which links Emersons Green with the city centre via UWE.

Subject to everything going to plan, attention will then turn to preparations for the launch of the M1 service, currently scheduled for January 2019, which will see express buses running along Bradley Stoke Way with an ‘every 10 minutes’ frequency on a route between Cribbs Causeway, the city centre and Hengrove.

First Bristol has announced that it plans to start operating the new M2 service from Monday 3rd September. The service will run between Long Ashton P&R and the city centre, serving Ashton Gate Stadium, SS Great Britain, Wapping Wharf, Temple Meads Station and Cabot Circus. It replaces the current 903 service between Long Ashton P&R and the city centre, which is operated under contract to Bristol City Council.

James Freeman, managing director of First Bristol, said:

“We are looking forward to taking MetroBus to the next level and start operating the M2 service. Since we started operating the M3 MetroBus service from Emersons Green and Lyde Green to the city centre at the end of April, we have been delighted to see steadily growing passenger numbers, with around 120,000 journeys made so far; and appreciated a lot of positive feedback from customers.”

First has also announced the planned introduction of a Sunday service and late-night journeys on the M3 route from mid-September. The new Sunday service will commence on 16th September and run half-hourly between 9am and 7pm. Later evening and night journeys, between 9pm and 4am Mondays to Saturdays, will start from 17th September, but will only run on the route section between UWE and the city centre (and only during UWE term time).

More: Buy-before-you-board using smartphone app or smart card »-

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First Bus boss to face questions on future of 73 and X73 services

Posted on Monday 20th August 2018 at 10:20 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of James Freeman speaking into a microphone.

James Freeman, managing director of First Bristol, is expected to attend a public council meeting in Bradley Stoke on Wednesday evening (22nd August), at which he will face questions about the future of the 73 and X73 services once MetroBus begins serving the town.

Currently planned to start operating in January 2019, the M1 MetroBus route will link The Mall at Cribbs Causeway with Bristol city centre and parts of south Bristol. Buses on the route will travel along Bradley Stoke Way and use the recently opened Stoke Gifford By-Pass and the M32 (via a new bus-only junction at Stoke Lane).

MetroBus has previously stated that, during the initial phase of operation, it expects that 90 percent of passengers on its services will have transferred from existing routes, leading to concerns over the future of some of them.

First has been coy about its future plans for its 73 and X73 services, but gave some hints following the announcement, back in April, of Bristol Community Transport as the operator for the MetroBus M1 service (albeit under contract to First).

At that time, a First spokesperson told the Journal:

“The current plan is to run a slightly modified version of the current 73 while the M1 ‘beds in’. The X73 will be withdrawn because it would not be commercially viable once service M1 starts.”

Journal readers have expressed concerns about a possible reduction in the 73 service, pointing out that it provides important connections to places like Bristol Parkway, the MoD, Filton and Gloucester Road, all of which will not be served by MetroBus. The 73 route also serves parts of the town which are some distance from Bradley Stoke Way, so will still provide an important service for residents who have difficulty reaching the new MetroBus stops.

Wednesday’s meeting of Bradley Stoke Town Council’s Planning & Environment Committee takes place at the Jubilee Centre, Savages Wood Road (BS32 8HL), starting at 7pm. As with all town council meetings, local residents will be permitted to ask questions at the start of proceedings.

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Photo: James Freeman addresses journalists and VIP guests at the launch event for the MetroBus M3 service.

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MetroBus is GO! But still SEVEN MONTHS before it arrives in Bradley Stoke

Posted on Wednesday 13th June 2018 at 10:36 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a crowd of dignitaries standing in front of a MetroBus vehicle at the M3 Route launch event.

The first service on the Greater Bristol area’s new MetroBus network finally got under way at the end of May with the launch of the M3 Emersons Green to city centre route. However, it is likely to be at least another seven months before MetroBus begins operating in Bradley Stoke, according to a recent statement put out by the West of England councils and the MetroBus operators.

The M1 Cribbs Causeway to Hengrove route, which will link Bradley Stoke with UWE and Bristol city centre, was originally due to start operating in September 2017, immediately following the planned completion of the Stoke Gifford Transport Link (a.k.a. Stoke Gifford By-Pass). However, delays in construction of the by-pass and other road infrastructure on the route, combined with problems with the iPoint ticketing and information machines that will be installed at all MetroBus stops, have meant that the projected start date has been repeatedly pushed back.

Poster in MetroBus Shelter: "This bus stop is not currently in use by any bus service".The last start date given to the Journal (in January 2018) was “late summer”, although notices displayed at the new MetroBus stops in Bradley Stoke were more vague, stating only that services would “start in 2018” (see photo on right).

A statement put out by MetroBus on 15th May has now shared the “good news” that services on the M1 route will begin in January 2019. This means that the M1 route will be the last of the (now) three routes in the MetroBus network to commence operations, as the M2 Long Ashton Park & Ride route is now expected to start “in autumn” once issues with the problematic guided busway on part of the route have been resolved.

The M1 announcement came less than a month after the boss of the parent company of Bristol Community Transport, which will run the service, declined to predict a start date, telling the Journal he “didn’t want to give a timeline … as it would be a hostage to fortune”.

The other two MetroBus routes shown in the original funding bid submitted to the Department for Transport (and as recently as July 2017 in the MetroBus Quality Partnership Scheme document) have been quietly shelved. These include the route between Emerson Green and Parkway Station, which appears to have been absorbed into the second-phase Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension scheme, due to begin operating in 2022.

More: Details of MetroBus fare structure revealed »

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