Posts Tagged ‘rapid transit’

Woods Estate Agents, Bradley Stoke, Bristol

MetroBus is GO! But still SEVEN MONTHS before it arrives in Bradley Stoke

Posted on Wednesday 13th June 2018 at 10:36 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a crowd of dignitaries standing in front of a MetroBus vehicle at the M3 Route launch event.

The first service on the Greater Bristol area’s new MetroBus network finally got under way at the end of May with the launch of the M3 Emersons Green to city centre route. However, it is likely to be at least another seven months before MetroBus begins operating in Bradley Stoke, according to a recent statement put out by the West of England councils and the MetroBus operators.

The M1 Cribbs Causeway to Hengrove route, which will link Bradley Stoke with UWE and Bristol city centre, was originally due to start operating in September 2017, immediately following the planned completion of the Stoke Gifford Transport Link (a.k.a. Stoke Gifford By-Pass). However, delays in construction of the by-pass and other road infrastructure on the route, combined with problems with the iPoint ticketing and information machines that will be installed at all MetroBus stops, have meant that the projected start date has been repeatedly pushed back.

Poster in MetroBus Shelter: "This bus stop is not currently in use by any bus service".The last start date given to the Journal (in January 2018) was “late summer”, although notices displayed at the new MetroBus stops in Bradley Stoke were more vague, stating only that services would “start in 2018” (see photo on right).

A statement put out by MetroBus on 15th May has now shared the “good news” that services on the M1 route will begin in January 2019. This means that the M1 route will be the last of the (now) three routes in the MetroBus network to commence operations, as the M2 Long Ashton Park & Ride route is now expected to start “in autumn” once issues with the problematic guided busway on part of the route have been resolved.

The M1 announcement came less than a month after the boss of the parent company of Bristol Community Transport, which will run the service, declined to predict a start date, telling the Journal he “didn’t want to give a timeline … as it would be a hostage to fortune”.

The other two MetroBus routes shown in the original funding bid submitted to the Department for Transport (and as recently as July 2017 in the MetroBus Quality Partnership Scheme document) have been quietly shelved. These include the route between Emerson Green and Parkway Station, which appears to have been absorbed into the second-phase Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension scheme, due to begin operating in 2022.

More: Details of MetroBus fare structure revealed »

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Bradley Stoke MetroBus operator announced but still no start date

Posted on Friday 11th May 2018 at 9:50 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a Bristol MetroBus vehicle parked at Long Ashton Park & Ride.

A Bedminster-based social enterprise has been announced as the operator of services on the MetroBus route that will serve Bradley Stoke.

Bristol Community Transport (BCT) will be operating the M1 MetroBus route under contract to First West of England, and is investing in a fleet of 21 biogas buses running on gas generated from food waste – creating up to 60 new driver and support positions at its Bedminster depot.

BCT is Bristol’s largest community transport operator and a part of leading transport social enterprise HCT Group, which operates major transport contracts in London, Jersey, Guernsey and Leeds. As a social enterprise, they reinvest the profits from their commercial work into further transport services or projects in the communities they serve. BCT already provides four regular bus routes in Bristol, operating under contract to Bristol City Council.

The operators for all of the first three MetroBus routes have now been announced. In addition to the M1 service that will be operated by BCT, the other two routes, M2 (Long Ashton Park & Ride to city centre) and M3 (Emersons Green to city centre), will be operated directly by First West of England.

The M2 route was initially planned to be the first to open, but has reportedly been beset by technical problems. Priority is now being given to getting the M3 service running, with MetroBus saying some months ago that it was expected to start “immediately after the completion of the Bromley Heath viaduct work on the A4174 Ring Road”. The M3 start date has now been confirmed as 29th May, which will come a month after the lifting of the contraflow over the viaduct.

More: BCT boss says giving a timeline "would be a hostage to fortune" »

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MetroBus update: March 2018

Posted on Friday 6th April 2018 at 9:24 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of an iPoint at the Long Ashton Park & Ride.

This month, the West of England Councils’ MetroBus team were unable to provide any specific news relating to services through Bradley Stoke, but they have kindly provided this update on what is happening across the wider MetroBus project.

The three-route 50km MetroBus network is due to be operational in the spring – starting with the M3 service running from Emersons Green via UWE to the city centre. The Bromley Heath Viaduct works need to be completed first – currently their end date is the end of April. The other routes will start afterwards.

As MetroBus is ‘buy before you board for faster services’, the information and ticketing points have had to be developed. This will make MetroBus the only service outside London where you have to pay before you board – significantly reducing delays.

The introduction of a Travelwest smartcard, use of mobile phone apps, existing concessionary cards and top ups online from the travelwest.info website have all had to be incorporated into the system. This week, the first iPoint at Long Ashton Park & Ride was switched on, and the team are checking and testing that it all works as it should – the 1,000th and 10,000th ticket is as important as the first. The iPoints along the M3 route will be put in place soon.

MetroBus has already made positive changes to the way people are moving around:

  • The new city centre arrangement is allowing traffic to flow more freely, with savings of six to seven minutes from the bottom of the M32 to the harbourside at some times of the day
  • Over 60 buses have had their timetables revised as they are now running faster and more reliably
  • The new bus lanes in other areas are allowing all buses to keep to time and avoid hold-ups
  • The new bridge at Bathurst Basin is safer for pedestrians and has improved traffic flows
  • In south Bristol, traffic has been removed from unsuitable residential roads and there are easier and quicker links for businesses to the main roads

MetroBus is another piece in the jigsaw helping to tackle congestion, improve air quality and provide a rapid and reliable choice for people who need to travel longer distances by public transport.

• More information: MetroBus (Travelwest)

Photo: The first MetroBus iPoint was powered up at Long Ashton Park & Ride during the third week of March.

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 31). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,200 homes in Bradley Stoke and Little Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

Update: Services on the M3 route will start on 29th May 2018 »

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MetroBus update: “Sorry, nothing to report!”

Posted on Monday 19th March 2018 at 10:13 pm by SH (Editor)

Poster in MetroBus Shelter: "This bus stop is not currently in use by any bus service".

BSJ editor Stephen Horton comments:

Another month has passed and we still seem to be no closer to having a MetroBus service running through Bradley Stoke.

In our February magazine, we reported that MetroBus had told us that the much-postponed announcement of which company would be operating the Cribbs Causeway to Hengrove (M1) route was now expected to be made in “mid-February”.

As I write this, we are in the dying days of February and nothing has been heard. Cue the latest update from MetroBus: “We are still waiting for the operators to announce. It is their announcement and unfortunately we have no influence over when they will make it.”

Keen readers will recall that the announcement was originally expected in September 2016. It wasn’t until June 2017 that First Bus was announced as the operator of the Ashton Vale to Temple Meads (M2) route, but there was no mention of the M1 route at that time. In September 2017, MetroBus newsletters began telling us that the M1 announcement would be made in October 2017. It never happened, and MetroBus is now facing the reality that potential operators have it over the proverbial barrel.

Even assuming that an operator has committed to running the service, which it has always been intended would be on an unsubsidised basis (as least as far as its operation is concerned), uncertainty remains over when it will start. Our February magazine reported that this will now be “late summer”, although posters recently put up at some of the new MetroBus shelters in Bradley Stoke are less specific, saying only that “MetroBus services start in 2018”. Cynics will no doubt be saying: “At least they are committing to a year now!”

Many unanswered questions remain, including the ones relating to the future of the 73 service once MetroBus starts. All we know if that this will be a commercial decision for the 73 operator (First Bus) and they have told the town council it is too early to talk about it.

On the MetroBus budget front, there have been no updates for nearly a year, and with one of the planned MetroBus routes (Emersons Green to Parkway Station) seemingly now shelved and transferred to the ‘phase 2’ Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension, the suspicion is that the focus is now on avoiding further overspends by trimming functionality.

More: MetroBus factsheet – The iPoint »

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