M1 MetroBus service changes from 5th January

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.

Details of changes to the other the other two MetroBus services, M2 (Long Ashton – city centre) and M3 (Emersons Green – city centre) may be viewed on the First Bus website.

Rob Pymm, commercial director at First West of England, said:

“As MetroBus grows in popularity, we continue to learn more about people’s travel patterns and this helps us to adjust the services and make sure we have the right number of buses in the right places at the right times. Peak time services are exceeding expectations, so we are pleased to be able to put extra peak buses on the busiest section of M1 from January and also launch a Sunday service on the M2 from April, but to make these investments we need to ensure that we have the right level of service during the quieter periods as well.”

“We are working closely with the MetroBus team to develop ways of encouraging more off-peak demand, and to get things moving in the new year, we’ll shortly be launching a January offer aimed at getting more people to use MetroBus during what is typically a quiet month after the festive period.”

From 6th January until the end of the month, a group ticket on all MetroBus services will be available from 10am on weekdays allowing up to five people to travel for £5.

Mr Pymm added:

“Eighty-five percent of MetroBus users told us they’d recommend MetroBus to family and friends, so we really hope people will take advantage of the offer and give MetroBus a try.”

More information:

M1 MetroBus one year on: Your views (BSJ Facebook)

SM: I was very much a MetroBus sceptic. However, I have really changed my mind. A great service.

CP: Love it. Don’t use it that much but been great each and every time.

JL: Great value for money, so much quicker than getting the 73 or 75! I’m happy to get the bus a lot more into town now rather than driving.

CB: Rarely drive into Bristol now; always get the bus for shopping trips and if going out in the evening.

SH: The Metro bus has certainly made my life much easier and less time spent on the bus (as I used to use the 73 to Bristol and back, which could take up to an hour-and-a-half some days due to traffic etc.). Now using the MetroBuses to work and back – simply amazing!

RH: Never used buses before the MetroBus but now wouldn’t go into Bristol any other way. Big sceptic 100% converted.

RD: I think it’s fantastic. I get it every day and the ‘every 10min’ frequency takes the stress out of missing a bus or one being late. It so far has been life-changing moving from the 73 and scaled down X73 .

WS: Used it for a bit, still went back to the car very shortly afterwards. It would be far more usable if they created an M1X service that by-passes UWE in the morning/evening rush hours. As it stands, you either catch a T1 or spend an extra 30 minutes gridlocked at UWE.

SL: I love the MetroBus. However, for the second time they are about to reduce the service. The whole point of MetroBus is the frequency. Had to wait 20min a few times recently. People will just end up using their car if the service times are reduced. M1 needs to avoid just being like other bus service.

PG: Hardly been on a bus in 20 years till M1 started, now use it all the time and the T1 to Thornbury. Don’t let the good work be undone.

MH: Of no use if you work in the largest employers in north Bristol (Airbus, MOD, Rolls Royce etc.).

• View more comments and add your own at http://bit.ly/metrobus-2019-12

Photo of the upper section of the MetroBus iPoint at the Willow Brook southbound stop.

Do you have a question about MetroBus that you would like to put to First West of England?

Perhaps you have an idea for improving the service or would like to suggest a change to the route. For example, some readers have called for the introduction of an M1X service that would join the M32 at junction 1 rather than going into UWE.

Let us know and we will put your questions and suggestions to First’s management.

This article originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 14 & 15). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

Postscript (14th January 2020)

Your questions to First West of England (BSJ Facebook)

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One comment

  1. As well as changing the frequency of the M1 bus, First are also altering the times of the 18 and 19 bus to Bath from Cribbs Causeway. Sometimes it is an hourly service rather than every 30 minutes as before. People prefer a regular bus service rather a hotch-potch of times. Do First want the service to fail. Perhaps Stagecoach should take it over, more comfortable buses. South glos Council is too week to have any influence. What about the West of England partnership, Tim Boules.

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