Archive for the ‘Transport’ Category

MetroBus contractor used wrong type of asphalt on Bradley Stoke Way

Posted on Thursday 30th May 2019 at 6:01 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of resurfacing work on Bradley Stoke Way in May 2019.

A new traffic lane on a main road through Bradley Stoke is having to be resurfaced less than three years after it was created due to substandard materials being used in its construction.

What is now the southbound lane of Bradley Stoke Way between Patchway Brook Roundabout (near Aldi) and Savages Wood Roundabout (near the leisure centre) was created as part the MetroBus project by taking land from the adjacent verge. It received its final surfacing in September 2016 after which it was brought into service for general traffic.

But on Tuesday last week (21st May), South Gloucestershire Council announced on its StreetCare Facebook page that it would be closing the aforementioned stretch of road overnight for five nights from Monday 27th May “to carry out carriageway resurfacing”.

The post attracted a torrent of comments with people demanding to know why “the best road in Bradley Stoke” and “the only road in the area without potholes” should need resurfacing.

The council replied with the comment:

“The closure is for remedial works – we need to carry out investigations as we have detected defects underneath the carriageway which can cause potholes and other problems on the road surface,”

which only led to further questions asking why other roads in the area which already have potholes haven’t been repaired.

In reply to an enquiry from the Journal, an SGC spokesperson explained further:

“This is MetroBus remedial work that is being carried out at no cost to South Gloucestershire Council. The contractor used the incorrect material specification for the stone mastic asphalt (SMA) which would result in a reduced life span of the surface.”

Asked if the issue might affect other stretches of road created during the MetroBus project, the spokesperson added:

“The issue of incorrect material being used during the MetroBus work applies only to the southbound section that is being resurfaced this week.”

More: Overnight closure on Thursday for white lining »

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MetroBus: Has the ‘no lay-bys’ policy backfired?

Posted on Friday 26th April 2019 at 9:10 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo showing bus chaos on Bradley Stoke Way, in the vicinity of Webbs Wood Roundabout.

The introduction of new bus routes (T1 and M1 MetroBus) through Bradley Stoke has actually worsened traffic congestion rather than relieved it, claim a number of readers commenting on the Journal’s Facebook page.

Responding to a reader who reported being held up by a convoy of three buses “halting at every stop” along Bradley Stoke Way to pick up or set down passengers, many people have blamed the lack of lay-bys at the newly created MetroBus stops for the problems.

An overall increase in traffic flow resulting from the opening of the Stoke Gifford By-Pass (created as part of the MetroBus project) seems to have exacerbated the problem by limiting opportunities for overtaking buses halted at stops, due to a lack of gaps in oncoming traffic.

Council planners say they are against having lay-bys at stops because buses find it difficult to re-enter the traffic flow when moving off. However, the policy seems to be backfiring as ‘rapid service’ MetroBuses, which only halt at selected stops, are themselves being held up by being unable to pass regular buses (73 and T1) halted at any stop along their route, including the non-MetroBus ones.

Responding to an enquiry from Bradley Stoke Town Council after the issue of tailbacks forming at the Savages Wood Roundabout stop had been raised by a town councillor, South Gloucestershire Council replied:

“The new bus stops that have been provided on Bradley Stoke Way for the MetroBus services have not been built with lay-bys. The reason for this is that when buses pull out of the traffic flow into bus lay-bys at bus stops, they often find it very difficult to pull back out onto the road as they have to wait for a gap in the traffic to do so. This can result in delays to bus services and unreliability.”

“Therefore, as MetroBus is designed to be a faster, more reliable public transport service, most new MetroBus stops have been built without lay-bys. It should be noted however, as MetroBus services require passengers to buy tickets before they board the bus, in order to reduce the time that the buses need to wait at the bus stops.”

“Providing high quality public transport services such as MetroBus should help to reduce future increases in traffic associated with the expected growth in housing and jobs, especially single occupancy car use.”

More: Selected reader comments from our Facebook page »

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M1 MetroBus: 15 months late, but finally running

Posted on Sunday 10th February 2019 at 8:55 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of the very first timetabled M1 MetroBus to enter Bradley Stoke arriving at the Patchway Brook southbound stop.

North Bristol’s long-awaited M1 MetroBus service finally launched on Sunday 6th January, around 15 months later than originally planned and 39 months after the start of what eventually turned out to be more than two years of highly disruptive roadworks to construct new bus lanes along Bradley Stoke Way.

The M1, the third and longest Bristol MetroBus route, connects Cribbs Causeway, Bradley Stoke, UWE, the city centre, Bedminster and Hengrove Park.

It is operated by Bristol Community Transport (BCT), under contract to First West of England, using a fleet of 21 biogas buses. Up to 60 new driver and support positions are said to have been created at BCT’s Bedminster depot.

To reflect the importance of the new service in supporting local communities, artwork featuring community groups and organisations based on the route features on the inside rear panels of the vehicles. These range from youth organisations such as Scouts, Army Cadets and theatre groups to services for the elderly and environmental charities, as well as landmark independent businesses.

Eight of the new buses were already liveried and on the road on launch day. The remaining 13 murals will be unveiled in the next coming weeks. Local groups that will be featured on the buses include Bradley Stoke Scouts, Bradley Stoke Active Lifestyle Centre, Bradley Stoke Cricket Club, Bradley Stoke Library and Safe Space.

Eight of the 21 groups featured are members of Bristol Community Transport, using their community minibuses. These groups will directly benefit from the operation of MetroBus as BCT will be using the proceeds to support their community transport services in the city.

More: "Driver route familiarity" an issue in first fortnight »

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MetroBus arrives but journey times disappoint

Posted on Friday 4th January 2019 at 5:55 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of the upper section of the MetroBus iPoint at the Willow Brook southbound stop.

BSJ editor Stephen Horton comments:

More than eight years after the Journal first reported on plans for a ‘bus rapid transit’ link between north Bristol and the city centre, it looks like we are finally at the point where services are about to begin.

Looking at the timetable that was available as we went to print, the ‘every ten minutes’ frequency on the M1 MetroBus route from 6am to midnight Monday to Friday certainly looks impressive. Add to that the flat fare of £2 for any single journey along the 17-mile route between Cribbs Causeway and Hengrove in south Bristol, or £4 for a day ticket valid on all First services in the Bristol zone, and it really does look like it could tempt more car drivers to make the switch to public transport. That is, if the operators BCT/First can actually run the service to the published timetable, which seems to have been a perennial problem in recent years.

But scratch beneath the surface and there are some strange anomalies and shortfalls to be found with the new M1 service. For example, when the planning application for the MetroBus infrastructure was submitted in 2014, it was estimated that the journey time between the Willow Brook Centre and Bristol city centre on MetroBus would be 26 minutes, a saving of 22 minutes compared to the existing 73 service. However, the recently published timetable for the M1 service shows typical journey times of 32 minutes off-peak and 37 minutes at peak times.

It also has to be born in mind that many people will have further to walk to a bus stop to catch the M1 as the route goes straight down Bradley Stoke Way and there are fewer stops, which further reduces the time saving.

Another question people will be asking is why is the M1 so much slower than the T1 Thornbury to Bristol service, introduced in May 2018, which makes the same journey in just 22 minutes (off-peak)? That is, when the buses actually turn up, as it has been plagued by unreliability issues attributed to driver shortages. (For fairness, it is noted that the T1 operates only half-hourly and not at all after around 7.30pm.)

A MetroBus spokesperson told us that the longer-than-anticipated M1 journey times reflect worsened traffic conditions since the planning application was prepared and pointed out that the M1 serves four stops in and around UWE before using the new bus-only junction on the M32, whereas the T1 heads straight for the M32 at junction 1.

Finally, it is noted that it will not be possible to travel between Bradley Stoke and Bristol Parkway Station using MetroBus, so passengers wishing to make that journey will still have to use the existing 73 service. Bizarrely, they will now have to allow more time for their trip as the frequency of the 73 is being reduced in the face of competition … from MetroBus!

This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 6). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

Post-print correction: In the first sentence “ten years” has been corrected to “eight years” (the fist post on this subject was made on 24th July 2009).

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Ocean Estate Agents, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.
Bradley Stoke Journal 6 & 11-year anniversary (2019).
1st Stop Accountancy & Tax Services Bristol Ltd.