Posts Tagged ‘bus’

Autumn bus issues haven’t been solved

Posted on Friday 15th November 2019 at 4:50 pm by SH (Editor)

A T1 bus at the Savages Wood southbound bus stop on Bradley Stoke Way.

Autumn often brings with it an increase in complaints about local bus services and this year has been no exception, despite the introduction of “improved” services, such as the T1 and M1 MetroBus since summer 2018.

The T1 Thornbury to Bristol express service, which passes along Bradley Stoke Way, only runs every half hour but is favoured by some users over the more-frequent M1 as it is scheduled to get them to the city centre faster. This is because it accesses the M32 at junction 1 rather than going into the UWE campus and using the new bus-only junction. However, traffic congestion on the A38 between Thornbury and Aztec West at peak times has meant that the T1 buses can be full by the time they arrive at the Great Meadow stop in south Bradley Stoke.

Meanwhile, the off-peak frequency of the M1 MetroBus may have been reduced, but it seems the peak hours service is becoming more and more popular. Since 15th September three extra M1 journeys have been added between Bradley Stoke and the city centre in the morning peak. However, it seems this is still not enough as there are reports of buses being full by the time they reach the Great Stoke stop near the north end of the Stoke Gifford By-Pass.

There have also been reports of M1 buses being held up in congestion on the A4174, on the approach to Coldharbour Lane.

Recent discussions on the BSJ Facebook page:

See also: Your tweets about bus service issues (The Journal)

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 33). 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.

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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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M1 MetroBus service to start on 6th January

Posted on Wednesday 2nd January 2019 at 7:22 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo showing a line of M1 MetroBus vehicles at the BCT depot in Bedminster.

The M1 MetroBus service, the third and longest Bristol MetroBus route, connecting south Bristol, Bedminster, the city centre, UWE, Bradley Stoke and Cribbs Causeway, will launch on Sunday 6th January.

Bristol Community Transport, who will be operating the M1 service under contract to First West of England, has invested in a fleet of new buses running on biogas generated from food waste, farm waste and sewage – creating up to 60 new driver and support positions at their Bedminster depot. This represents the first major investment in biogas buses in the area and puts the West of England at the forefront of low emission bus operations powered by alternative sources.

The launch of M1 follows the successful introduction of routes M3 and M2 that were launched in May and September 2018, connecting Emersons Green and Lyde Green Park & Ride to the city centre and Long Ashton Park & Ride to the city centre respectively. Together, these routes have already carried over 600,000 customers.

Travel will be free all day on Sunday 6th January when the new fleet is unveiled. Subsequently, tickets will be available via the special iPoint machines that have already started appearing along the M1 route. As well as providing real-time ‘next bus’ information, they form an integral part of MetroBus’ ‘buy before you board’ strategy, enabling customers to buy tickets using contactless or chip & pin bank cards. Customers can also buy tickets using First’s mTicket smartphone app, and registered Travelwest smartcard users can buy tickets from the Travelwest website and load them onto their smartcard at an iPoint before using it on the bus. First’s standard range of tickets for their Bristol and West of England fare zones are also valid on all MetroBus services, as are concessionary passes.

MetroBus fares are simple and all tickets are ‘buy before you board’, for faster journeys. Single trips are £2.00 (£2.07 for an individual ticket via the First mTicket app) and a day ticket allowing unlimited travel is £4.

More: All the local bus service changes from 6th January »

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First confirms that T1 service will run alongside M1 MetroBus

Posted on Tuesday 18th December 2018 at 9:10 pm by SH (Editor)

A T1 bus at the Savages Wood southbound bus stop on Bradley Stoke Way.

A statement from First West of England.

First West of England is pleased to announce that the T1 service will be enhanced from January to provide customers in Bradley Stoke with greater travel flexibility.

As well as the launch of the new M1 MetroBus service, linking the south and north of the city, the popular T1 service will offer an additional early morning and early evening run into and back from the city centre.

The new M1 MetroBus route will take on the provision of travel between Aztec West and the city centre, providing sufficient capacity for the two morning and evening duplicate journeys [introduced in September] to be withdrawn from the T1 service.

The changes will happen on Sunday 6th January, which is the same date the M1 MetroBus service launches.

Simon Ford, commercial manager, First West of England, said:

“We remain committed to service T1, as this is the key service to our offer in Thornbury. While the route through Bradley Stoke will be duplicated by the M1 MetroBus service, the T1 does not serve UWE and therefore the MetroBus may be preferred by some Bradley Stoke customers.”

“We believe the combination of the M1 and T1 will significantly improve our transport offer through Bradley Stoke.”

• For timetable information, visit

This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 16). 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.

UPDATE (18th December 2018)

Timetable for the T1 service from 6th January 2019:

Note: The above timetables also show the new T3 service, which replaces the X73 service from 6th January 2019.

See also: M1 Metrobus [The Journal]

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