Posts Tagged ‘bus’

MetroBus announces ‘Search for a Star’ initiative to showcase new M1 service

Posted on Tuesday 20th November 2018 at 12:07 pm by SH (Editor)

Lower rear inside panel of a Bristol MetroBus vehicle.

MetroBus is calling for local community groups to literally go on the road with it as the face of the new M1 service when it launches in January.

The M1 is the third and longest MetroBus route, connecting south Bristol, the city centre, UWE, Bradley Stoke and Cribbs Causeway.

As previously reported by the Journal, the service will be operated by Bristol Community Transport under contract to First West of England.

To promote the local communities through which it will operate, MetroBus wants to feature community groups, schools and organisations on the rear inside panel of each of the 21 biogas vehicles serving the route. These can be anything from youth and sports groups to community and arts centres.

MetroBus is also seeking local talent that they can showcase when the service launches on Sunday 6th January. Throughout the day, the route will host local performers both on the bus and at route stops.

Jimmy Sommerville, operations manager at Bristol Community Transport, said:

“We really want to celebrate the communities that we serve by featuring some of their local heroes on our vehicles. Voluntary and community organisations often don’t get the recognition they deserve, this way we’ll be showcasing them to literally thousands of people every day as we follow the 17-mile route.”

“It could be anything from a school or college football team, a community choir, a WI group, luncheon club, scouting group or dance troop. If you and members from your local community get together, we want to celebrate what you do.”

“In addition, we want local performers to come forward to join us on launch day. If you are a singer, dancer, magician, balloon artist, face painter or even a performance poet we want to hear from you. Obviously we have space restrictions on the vehicle but bigger groups can perform at key bus stops at various points on the route to make it a really fun occasion for everyone.”

Travel on the M1 route will be free all day on Sunday 6th January.

More: Biogas fuel will be generated from food waste, farm waste or sewage »

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Reprieve for X73 route but 73 frequency to drop to ‘every 20 mins’

Posted on Saturday 17th November 2018 at 10:41 pm by SH (Editor)

A First West of England X73 bus at the Linden Drive stop in Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

Bus operator First Bristol has granted a partial reprieve to the X73 peak-hours-only bus service, which it had previously stated would be withdrawn once the M1 MetroBus service starts in January 2019. However, as widely anticipated, Bradley Stoke’s current main bus service, the 73, will see its frequency reduced due to an expected drop in demand from passengers travelling to the city centre.

The announcements follow an informal public consultation during September, launched at the request of First’s managing director James Freeman, who attended a meeting of Bradley Stoke Town Council in August to talk through some of the possible scenarios for current local bus services in the MetroBus era.

Two journeys a day in each direction will be retained on the X73 service, which operates along the full length of Brook Way , in contrast to the MetroBus route along Bradley Stoke Way.

In a statement released to the Journal, Mr Freeman said:

“We were delighted by the number of people who made time to respond to our request for views about what we should do the with the 73 service as well as the X73 after MetroBus route M1 is introduced on 6th January 2019.”

“The overwhelming response was that people wanted us to keep things as they are, albeit with a general acceptance that services would need to run at a lower frequency than at present.”

“I am therefore pleased to announce today that we will continue to operate service 73, but every 20 minutes after 6th January, following the present route in every detail.”

“Journeys on weekday evenings and Sundays will run broadly as now.”

“In addition, we have found additional resources to continue the X73 service with two rather than three journeys per day – at 0640 and 0805 from Aztec West, returning from the city centre at 1550 and 1725 on Mondays to Fridays.”

The reduction in the daytime frequency of the 73 means that it will have halved from the ‘every 10 minutes’ rate that was offered back in 2013, after the old 74 service was merged with the 73.

More: M1 will run ‘every 10 mins’ between 6am and midnight Mon-Sat »

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Driver shortages blamed for T1 bus cancellations

Posted on Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 9:44 pm by SH (Editor)

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

An express bus service linking Bradley Stoke with Bristol city centre that was introduced in May and offers journey times as quick as 22mins has been suffering reliability issues during peak hours in recent months, which the operator is blaming on high levels of customer demand and a shortage of drivers.

First’s new Thornbury to Bristol T1 service travels straight down Bradley Stoke Way, stopping at all regular bus stops, as well as the new MetroBus stops. It then uses the new Stoke Gifford Transport Link (a.k.a. Stoke Gifford By-Pass) to reach the A4174 Ring Road where it turns left to access the M32 at J1.

Timetabled journey times in the morning peak are around 26mins, comparing very favourably to the 45mins on the X73 and 61mins on the 73. The off-peak journey time is 22mins, compared to 51mins on the 73.

Passenger comments on the new T1 service were initially very favourable, but it seems that it has since become a victim of its own success, with many readers reporting journeys being cancelled or buses being full by the time they reach Bradley Stoke during the morning peak.

First responded by “doubling up” the buses on two morning (inward) and two afternoon (outward) peak journeys from 2nd September on the stretch between Aztec West and Bristol. This arrangement sees two buses running on schedules separated by just two minutes, but comments on Twitter show that this has only been partly successful because some journeys are continuing to be cancelled.

Responding to a statement request from the Journal, a First West of England spokesperson said:

“Following the introduction of the T1, we have seen a big increase in the number of customers using this new service. We are addressing this by adding in extra resource where possible, sourced both internally and by subcontracting some T1 journeys to Bristol Community Transport, who also currently operate the U3 service and will, from January 2019, operate the MetroBus M1 service.”

More: First says "We are working hard to recruit new drivers…" »

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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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