Posts Tagged ‘First Group’

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Note: This article was originally published in the BSJ magazine on 3rd September, i.e. a day before the X74 service was withdrawn.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linking Bradley Stoke with Bristol city centre, via the University of the West of England (UWE) and the M32, is being withdrawn from 4th September because the operator claims the number of passengers using the service makes it commercially unviable and South Gloucestershire Council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It is just one of a number of services being withdrawn or reduced as a result of SGC reducing its annual bus subsidy spending by £155,690 (9 percent), compared to 2015/16.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“Reflecting the lack of demand for direct journeys between Bradley Stoke and UWE, this service is being withdrawn and replaced instead by an express service between UWE and the city centre (service UWE).”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 ( from 8th August to review the new timetables.”

The new service 73 timetables are already available on the Traveline SW website

More: Alternative services for X74 passengers »

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Bus service changes on 73 & X73 routes effective from Sunday

Posted on Thursday 21st April 2016 at 10:03 pm by SH (Editor)

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

Bus operator First West of England has announced changes to the timetables of the 73 and X73 services, with effect from this Sunday (24th April).

The frequency of the 73 service between 10am and 3pm Monday through Friday will be reduced to ‘every 15 minutes’ (currently ‘every 12 minutes’). The frequency on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays will remain the same.

On the X73 service, the current 5.20pm journey from Bristol city centre to Bradley Stoke will depart five minutes later at 5.25pm.

The new timetables are available online from First Group and Traveline South West.

Jenny MacLeod, General Manager for First in Bristol, said:

“In reviewing our services recently we realised that many of our buses on Service 73 are running with a very small number of customers during the off-peak part of the day. To reflect this we will slightly reduce the frequency from every 12 to every 15 minutes (still providing four buses an hour).”

“At peak times, the current 12-minute frequency will remain, providing five buses an hour throughout the rush hours. These very minor changes to the 73 are part of a range of actions we are taking to create a more sustainable timetable that can withstand the extra congestion everyone in Bristol is facing at the moment.”

The off-peak frequency of the 73 service was reduced from ‘every 10 minutes’ to ‘every 12 minutes’ in August 2014, at the same time that the X74 service was introduced (and the Wessex 13 service withdrawn).

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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New bus route will provide direct link to Southmead Hospital

Posted on Saturday 22nd August 2015 at 9:22 pm by SH (Editor)

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

A new bus service being introduced by First from Sunday 23rd August will introduce a much called-for direct link between Bradley Stoke and Southmead Hospital.

The new 77 service, which will operate hourly Monday to Saturday daytime, will also serve another major local hospital, the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Running between Thornbury and Bristol city centre, the new service will follow the route of the current 83 between Thornbury and Parkway Station. From there it will travel via Southmead Hospital to Westbury-on-Trym, from where it will follow the route of the current 520 to the city centre via Henleaze, Cotham and the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

The 83 and 520 services will be withdrawn from the same date.

Entering Bradley Stoke from the Aztec West Roundabout, buses on the new 77 service will travel down Bradley Stoke Way to the Patchway Brook Roundabout (near Aldi), before traversing the full length of Brook Way, and on to Parkway via Orpheus Avenue and Hatchet Road.

The route of the new 77 service is very similar to one proposed to First and South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) by Bradley Stoke town councillor Tom Aditya almost a year ago, in response to requests from local residents. At the time, SGC’s transport operations manager Roy Steele said the route “might not be commercially viable in the current economic climate”, but promised he would discuss it with First.

Timetables for the new service will be available from early August on the First Bristol and Bath website (but are already available on the Traveline South West website). Hard copy timetables will be available from mid-August.

More: Extra term-time X74 journeys between UWE and city centre »

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