MetroBus update: “Sorry, nothing to report!”

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.

Factsheet: MetroBus iPoint

Bristol MetroBus iPoint.

The iPoint is an innovative piece of infrastructure developed especially for the MetroBus project in Bristol.

It stands 3.2m high and weighs approximately 0.75 tonne.

Services available at iPoints include:

  • Buy tickets
  • Top up smart cards
  • Real-time bus information
  • Journey planning
  • Route information
  • Emergency point

The iPoints allow passengers to purchase tickets prior to boarding. This is essential, as to improve reliability, passengers will be unable to buy tickets from the driver.

iPoints will be installed at all 78 MetroBus stops.

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 16). The magazine is 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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  1. This is becoming the joke everyone but the council predicted!

    A real shame that only London (TFL) is allowed to license bus routes and frequency, and collect all revenue. They just pay bus companies to run a reliable service.

    So much simpler than bus companies angling for grants in the rest of the country to run services that are frequently cancelled or late.

  2. I notice some of the Metro bus stops in Bradley Stoke have little weather protection so who will want to queue in driving rain to wait for the bus, what a joke!

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