Posts Tagged ‘MetroBus’

Bus boss critical of roadworks planning

Posted on Wednesday 12th February 2020 at 8:57 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of an M1 MetroBus vehicle stuck in a queue of traffic on the approach to Great Stoke Roundabout.

The managing director of the bus company responsible for running the M1 MetroBus service has singled out the recently commenced roadworks at Great Stoke (Rabbit) Roundabout as an example of long-term infrastructure works that have been planned with insufficient consideration being given to maintaining public transport flows.

Photo of James Freeman speaking into a microphone.

James Freeman (pictured), MD of First West of England, made the reference in an open letter on the effect that traffic congestion is having on bus services across Greater Bristol, but particularly in the so-called North Fringe.

What seems to have made Mr Freeman particularly annoyed is that his company had just introduced additional peak-hours capacity on the M1 service to cope with increasing demand from passengers in the Bradley Stoke and Stoke Gifford areas – increasing the number of seats per hour from 450 to 600.

However, the day after the extra journeys were added to the timetable, South Gloucestershire Council closed the bus lane on the approach to Great Stoke Roundabout and introduced flow-throttling narrow lanes for general traffic.

Not only has this introduced delays of up to 40min on each journey through Bradley Stoke in the morning peak as the M1 buses sit in traffic between the Willow Brook Centre and Rabbit Roundabout, it has also “totally disrupted the rest of the service straight through the morning, all the way to the very south of the city”.

Expanding on his statements in an interview with the Journal, Mr Freeman conceded that First was made aware of the upcoming roadworks, although he claims SGC failed to properly communicate the scale of the works and their likely effect on bus services.

Elsewhere in the North Fringe, traffic congestion on the A4174 Ring Road is having a severe impact on the reliability of the M3 MetroBus service. Here, Mr Freeman says there is a need to have dedicated bus lanes in both directions “all the way round to Keynsham”, doing away with the current 2+ lanes which he describes a being a “complete cop out” and “unenforceable”.

More: MetroBus system at risk of being "entirely discredited" »

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M1 MetroBus service changes from 5th January

Posted on Saturday 4th January 2020 at 9:27 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of an M1 MetroBus vehicle at the Webbs Wood southbound stop in Bradley Stoke.

Bus operator First West of England is making further changes to its MetroBus Bristol services from Sunday 5th January 2020, in particular the M1 MetroBus which links Bradley Stoke with Cribbs Causeway and Bristol city centre.

The company says the changes are designed to better reflect the pattern of customer demand across all hours of MetroBus service and improve reliability and punctuality.

The number of customers using the city’s MetroBuses has grown steadily, with more than four million passengers carried across the three routes (M1, M2 & M3) since the launch of the services.

The M1 MetroBus service between Cribbs Causeway and Hengrove, which passes along Bradley Stoke Way, has seen varying customer demand across peak and off-peak times. Additional peak capacity was added to the busiest sections of the route in September 2019, however this was only of benefit to passengers from Bradley Stoke travelling in the direction of the city centre during the morning peak.

With peak demand continuing to grow, the number of buses between Bradley Stoke’s Patchway Brook stop (near Aldi) and the city centre will be increased from January to provide extra capacity in both directions, and in the evening peak as well as the morning peak. Furthermore, some of these extra buses will start or terminate at Parson Street Station in Bedminster rather than the city centre.

This will mean a bus will run every 7-8 minutes on this section of the route at all weekday peak times compared to the current 10 minutes, an increase of 33 percent in the number of seats provided.

Outside of peak times on this section of the route, and throughout the day on the remainder of the route, the weekday M1 service will now operate every 15 minutes (a downgrade from the present ‘every 12 minutes’). Late evening services (after about 7pm) will continue to run every 20 minutes.

On Saturdays, buses will operate every 20 minutes at all times of day throughout the route (a downgrade from the present ‘every 12 minutes’ between approximately 10am and 5pm).

There are no changes to the frequency of buses on Sundays and public holidays.

More: M1 MetroBus one year on: Your views »

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M1 MetroBus service frequency set for another downgrade from January

Posted on Wednesday 27th November 2019 at 9:07 pm by SH (Editor)

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

The operating frequency of the flagship M1 MetroBus service, which links Bradley Stoke with Cribbs Causeway and Bristol city centre, looks set to be reduced for the second time in just over four months, the Journal can reveal.

No formal announcement has yet been made by First West of England or its sub-contractor Bristol Community Transport, but the following brief statement about the M1 service has appeared today (27th November) on the Travelwest website:

[With effect from 05/01/2020]

“Monday to Friday frequency reduction from ‘every 10 minutes’ to ‘every 15 minutes’.”

“Additional peak journeys between The Centre [in Bristol] and Patchway Brook [near Aldi in Bradley Stoke].”

“Saturday frequency reduction from ‘every 10 minutes’ to ‘every 20 minutes’. No Changes on Sundays.”

At the time of writing, no timetables were available for the revised service.

When it started on 6th January 2019, the M1 service ran every 10 minutes between 6am and midnight (Mon-Sat) and every 20 minutes between 9am and midnight on Sundays.

However, from 1st September 2019, the Monday to Friday off-peak and Saturday daytime frequency was reduced from ‘every 10 minutes’ to ‘every 12 minutes’. At the same time, the Monday to Saturday evening frequency was reduced from ‘every 10 minutes’ to ‘every 20 minutes’.

In contrast to off-peak times, passenger numbers at peak hours remain high and a small number of additional morning peak journeys were introduced from 15th September 2019 on the route section between Patchway Brook and Broadmead. These journeys are run using vehicles which aren’t MetroBus-branded.

Photo: The very first timetabled M1 MetroBus to enter Bradley Stoke arrives at the Patchway Brook southbound stop at 9.12am on Sunday 6th January 2019.

UPDATE (28th November 2019)

First West of England says new timetables will be available on its website from Friday 6th December 2019.

UPDATE (14th December 2019)

M1 timetable from 5th January 2020 [PDF; 5.7MB N.B. Large file!]

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M1 MetroBus off-peak frequency to be reduced from 1st September

Posted on Saturday 31st August 2019 at 10:06 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of an M1 MetroBus vehicle at the Webbs Wood southbound stop in Bradley Stoke.

The off-peak frequency of the M1 MetroBus service which runs between Cribbs Causeway, Bradley Stoke and Hengrove, via the city centre is to be reduced from 1st September due to low passenger numbers.

Finally starting operations in January 2019, more than three years after major roadworks began in Bradley Stoke to create the necessary infrastructure for the route, the M1 service has been required to run every 10 minutes through the day on weekdays, in order to meet the service levels set out in the MetroBus Quality Partnership Scheme.

The service is said to be very popular during the morning and afternoon peak times, but First West of England says there is a significant drop off in passengers outside of these times. To better reflect this pattern of demand, from 1st September, the Monday to Friday off-peak and Saturday daytime frequency will be reduced from ‘every 10 minutes’ to ‘every 12 minutes’. At the same time, the Monday to Saturday evening frequency will be reduced from ‘every 10 minutes’ to ‘every 20 minutes’, with the transition in frequency taking place between 7pm and 8pm.

On a more positive note, on Sundays and public holidays, the M1 service will start operating two hours earlier, at 7am, and run every 30 minutes between 7am and 9am.

Prior to the introduction of the M1 service, First initially said that it would be axing its existing peak-hours-only X73 service once the M1 started. It later changed its mind and the X73 was retained, albeit with one fewer journey each day and rebranded as the T3.

Having operated the T3 service for over six months, First has concluded that the service is not commercially viable and has announced its withdrawal from 1st September.

More: Additional morning peak journeys from BS to city centre »

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