Posts Tagged ‘First Group’

Woods Estate Agents, Bradley Stoke, Bristol

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

Posted on Sunday 18th December 2016 at 7:05 pm by SH (Editor)

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.

More: Passengers take to Twitter and Facebook to voice frustration »

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Reliability of 73 and X73 bus services hits another low after timetable change

Posted on Wednesday 21st September 2016 at 1:24 pm by SH (Editor)

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

Users of First West of England’s 73 and X73 bus routes have complained that the services have become “utterly shocking” and “unreliable” since the latest timetable change on 4th September.

Things got off to a poor start over the first couple of days when a failure of First’s IT system led to drivers on some routes in Bristol being unable to charge passengers for tickets or follow the new timetables.

As part of the changes, the frequency of the 73 service was reduced to ‘every 15 minutes’ during peak times (previously ‘every 12 minutes’), but there have been numerous reports of buses being cancelled or not turning up on time, with one passenger reporting a wait of an hour for a bus from Bradley Stoke to Bristol.

The 73 service was also extended to Bristol Temple Meads Station, which one reader has claimed has contributed to the problems due to the longer overall route.

The ‘peak hours only’ X73 service has also been the subject of complaints about cancelled journeys and ‘no shows’.

There have also been changes to the stops served by the 73 & X73 in the city centre, but passengers have reported that drivers have sometimes been using the ‘old’ stops, resulting in them missing their intended bus.

Scores of passengers have taken to social media to express their anger in messages directed at First. One, Emily S, wrote:

“@FirstBSA My 73 bus has been either late or just not showed up virtually every day for 3 weeks! I’m late for work again! What’s going on?!”

Another, Kellie H, wrote:

“@FirstBSA Since the timetable change the 73 service has been utterly shocking! So infrequent and unreliable…”

The Journal is today launching a new survey of readers’ travel experiences, with the intention of building up an evidence base that can be presented to service operators, local councils and regulators.

We are asking users of the 73 and X73 services to record any issues, either here on our website (by leaving a comment on this article), on The Journal’s Facebook page (by sending a message or leaving a comment on this post), via The Journal’s Twitter feed or by texting The Journal on 01454 300 400.

Please be sure to tell us which service you were using, the direction of travel (e.g. to/from city centre or Cribbs Causeway) and which stop you were using.

More: What passengers have been saying on social media »

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X74 falls victim to SGC subsidy cut

Posted on Wednesday 14th September 2016 at 11:19 pm by SH (Editor)

An X74 bus waits at the Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke.

Note: This article was originally published in the BSJ magazine on 3rd September, i.e. a day before the X74 service was withdrawn.

The X74 ‘express’ bus service linking Bradley Stoke with Bristol city centre, via the University of the West of England (UWE) and the M32, is being withdrawn from 4th September because the operator claims the number of passengers using the service makes it commercially unviable and South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has decided against continuing to subsidise it.

It is just one of a number of services being withdrawn or reduced as a result of SGC reducing its annual bus subsidy spending by £155,690 (9 percent), compared to 2015/16.

Operator First West of England says it is unable to continue the X74 without local authority support because legislation prevents it running a fully-commercial service at a loss.

An announcement on the firm’s website says:

“Reflecting the lack of demand for direct journeys between Bradley Stoke and UWE, this service is being withdrawn and replaced instead by an express service between UWE and the city centre (service UWE).”

“While the decision to withdraw service X74 is regrettable, the majority of customers should be able to use other services to complete their journeys.”

“While difficult to digest if you are one of the few affected by this type of decision, the fact remains that we are a business, and we do have to make these tough choices to ensure the long term viability of the whole network. Where areas have been left without services, we did discuss these matters in advance with the relevant local authorities, giving them the opportunity to consider what alternatives may need to be put in their place.”

More: SGC refuses to support an "unsustainable" service »

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Bus service alterations from 4th September

Posted on Saturday 6th August 2016 at 10:00 pm by SH (Editor)

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

Bus operator First West of England has announced that it is to withdraw the X74 service that links Bradley Stoke with Bristol city centre, via the University of the West of England (UWE) and the M32, with effect from 4th September.

There will also be changes to Bradley Stoke’s other main bus service, the 73 (Cribbs Causeway to Bristol) from the same date. These include extending the route to Bristol Temple Meads Station and reducing the Monday to Friday peak time frequency to ‘every 15 minutes’.

The X74 was introduced with a fanfare of publicity in August 2014. It effectively replaced the former Wessex 13 service and, like the 13, received financial support from South Gloucestershire Council. Its withdrawal will once again leave Braydon Avenue without a bus service, with passengers having to make their way to either Brook Way or Little Stoke Lane to access alternative services.

The reduction in the peak frequency of the 73 means that the service will now operate with a frequency of ‘every 15 minutes’ throughout the day Monday to Friday, compared to ‘every 10 minutes’ three years ago.

A First spokesperson said:

“From 4th September, the vast majority of service 73 journeys will be extended to and from Bristol Temple Meads. This comes on the back of customer requests for buses to operate beyond the current terminus at Lewins Mead and also creates a number of new journey opportunities. There will also be some changes to the timetable of service 73. More details about the change to this service will be published soon. In the meantime anyone wanting more information about the changes to service 73, should log onto the First Bristol website (www.firstgroup.com/bristol) from 8th August to review the new timetables.”

The new service 73 timetables are already available on the Traveline SW website www.travelinesw.com

More: Alternative services for X74 passengers »

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