First Bus boss to face questions on future of 73 and X73 services

Photo of James Freeman speaking into a microphone.

James Freeman, managing director of First Bristol, is expected to attend a public council meeting in Bradley Stoke on Wednesday evening (22nd August), at which he will face questions about the future of the 73 and X73 services once MetroBus begins serving the town.

Currently planned to start operating in January 2019, the M1 MetroBus route will link The Mall at Cribbs Causeway with Bristol city centre and parts of south Bristol. Buses on the route will travel along Bradley Stoke Way and use the recently opened Stoke Gifford By-Pass and the M32 (via a new bus-only junction at Stoke Lane).

MetroBus has previously stated that, during the initial phase of operation, it expects that 90 percent of passengers on its services will have transferred from existing routes, leading to concerns over the future of some of them.

First has been coy about its future plans for its 73 and X73 services, but gave some hints following the announcement, back in April, of Bristol Community Transport as the operator for the MetroBus M1 service (albeit under contract to First).

At that time, a First spokesperson told the Journal:

“The current plan is to run a slightly modified version of the current 73 while the M1 ‘beds in’. The X73 will be withdrawn because it would not be commercially viable once service M1 starts.”

Journal readers have expressed concerns about a possible reduction in the 73 service, pointing out that it provides important connections to places like Bristol Parkway, the MoD, Filton and Gloucester Road, all of which will not be served by MetroBus. The 73 route also serves parts of the town which are some distance from Bradley Stoke Way, so will still provide an important service for residents who have difficulty reaching the new MetroBus stops.

Wednesday’s meeting of Bradley Stoke Town Council’s Planning & Environment Committee takes place at the Jubilee Centre, Savages Wood Road (BS32 8HL), starting at 7pm. As with all town council meetings, local residents will be permitted to ask questions at the start of proceedings.

Related link:

Photo: James Freeman addresses journalists and VIP guests at the launch event for the MetroBus M3 service.

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  1. So I hardly ever use the buses, particularly 73 because it takes almost an hour to get from Bradley Stoke to the Centre. I was impressed with the T1 when I used it to get to town the other week. However yesterday having had a very long day, I thought about getting the T1 back home because it took less time to get to where I wanted. Then I thought about the extra 15 minutes it takes to walk back to my house from the stop and also realised they stopped running when I needed it after 8pm. So I was so grateful I could get the 73 which had 3 buses running in the hour and stopped just round the corner from my house. So please please keep the 73 running. A lot of people cannot walk to the stops from their houses and don’t just want to go to town or the centre.

  2. While i still believe that the metro bus project has been a waste of money i agree with the comments of lindy and feel that there is a need to keep the 73 route as it stops and covers more areas of bradley stoke, routes via the gloucester road for shops , cricket , football grounds etc and runs late at night when you need to get back from bristol centre

  3. The existing 73 is scheduled to do its journey in 81 minutes, far too long to get to the Centre. My suggestion is to truncate the route. The time schedule for Filton Avenue and Gloucester Road is 41 minutes. These two roads are served by quite adequate other routes. If the 73 could be re-routed away from this area it would save considerable journey time.

    My suggestion is:

    Keep the existing 73 route from Cribbs Causeway to the stop outside Sainsburys, then turn LEFT onto the Ring Road. Then right at the traffic lights onto Coldharbour Lane, and thence to the new M32 junction, continuing down the M32 to the Centre.

    Any traveller who wished to visit the Gloucester Road shops could take the 73 to Aztec West and transfer to the T2, or continue to Patchway and take the 75.

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