MetroBus adds new service and enhances M3

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

MetroBus services in the Greater Bristol area are expected to take a significant step forward this month with the introduction of the new M2 service between Long Ashton Park & Ride (P&R) and Bristol city centre and enhancements to the frequency of the existing M3 service which links Emersons Green with the city centre via UWE.

Subject to everything going to plan, attention will then turn to preparations for the launch of the M1 service, currently scheduled for January 2019, which will see express buses running along Bradley Stoke Way with an ‘every 10 minutes’ frequency on a route between Cribbs Causeway, the city centre and Hengrove.

First Bristol has announced that it plans to start operating the new M2 service from Monday 3rd September. The service will run between Long Ashton P&R and the city centre, serving Ashton Gate Stadium, SS Great Britain, Wapping Wharf, Temple Meads Station and Cabot Circus. It replaces the current 903 service between Long Ashton P&R and the city centre, which is operated under contract to Bristol City Council.

James Freeman, managing director of First Bristol, said:

“We are looking forward to taking MetroBus to the next level and start operating the M2 service. Since we started operating the M3 MetroBus service from Emersons Green and Lyde Green to the city centre at the end of April, we have been delighted to see steadily growing passenger numbers, with around 120,000 journeys made so far; and appreciated a lot of positive feedback from customers.”

First has also announced the planned introduction of a Sunday service and late-night journeys on the M3 route from mid-September. The new Sunday service will commence on 16th September and run half-hourly between 9am and 7pm. Later evening and night journeys, between 9pm and 4am Mondays to Saturdays, will start from 17th September, but will only run on the route section between UWE and the city centre (and only during UWE term time).

MetroBus is the UK’s first buy-before-you-board service outside London, which means customers must be in possession of valid tickets when they board the service as tickets cannot be bought from the driver. Instead, customers can buy tickets securely through the popular First Bus mTicket smartphone app (with a debit or credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay or Pingit), as well as from the newly-installed iPoints at every MetroBus stop, or by using the Travelwest smart card which can be topped up online, at iPoints using bank cards, or at Payzone stops and the Travel Shop at Bristol Bus Station using cash, banknotes or bank cards. Concessionary passes as well as First’s standard day and season tickets are also valid as normal.

Speaking at a town council meeting in Bradley Stoke on 22nd August, First’s James Freeman said that the current plan is to commence operations on the M1 MetroBus service from 13th January 2019.

As previously reported by the Journal, the M1 service will be operated by Bristol Community Transport, under contract to First. The social enterprise operator is investing in a fleet of 21 biogas buses and creating up to 60 new driver and support positions at its Bedminster depot.

Photo: Archive image of a MetroBus vehicle parked at Long Ashton Park & Ride.

This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 6). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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