LETTER: What on earth are First doing with the M1 MetroBus service?

Photo showing a line of M1 MetroBus vehicles at the BCT depot in Bedminster.

Reader’s letter submitted following the recent takeover of Bradley Stoke’s M1 MetroBus service by First West of England after the previous operator, Bristol Community Transport, collapsed.

What on earth are First doing with the M1 MetroBus service? Yes, I know they have only just taken it over but it was a fully operational and adequately staffed enterprise which they have made an exceptional effort to dismantle in just six days.

Kitchen & Laundry Appliance Care, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

Four times in the last week I have needed to use it. On three of those occasions the advertised bus has simply failed to turn up. It shows on the departures board but just disappears at the allocated time. On two of those I have not been able to catch the following service because the driver has deemed the bus to be full and just drives straight past. And in spite of advertising the service as running from Cribbs Causeway to Hartcliffe and vice versa, every time the service has stopped at Broadmead with the driver instructing everyone to get off and get another bus.

Photo of a poster with the headline 'Change of operator'.
Poster announcing a change of operator for the M1 MetroBus service.

First have stuck up notices at the stops warning of potential disruption and timetable changes during the “transition” following their takeover, but this is just PR spin. What they really meant to say is that they are discontinuing the current service and making fundamental changes.

What will happen when UWE starts up next week, does not bear thinking about.

Time for the West of England Combined Authority (Weca) to step in and allocate it to a competent operator with the incentive of competing with First’s other services, not propping them up.

Chris Thorne
Submitted 11th September 2022


Editor’s note: First West of England have been invited to comment on the views expressed in the above letter. Any responses received will be appended to this post.

✉️ If you would like to submit a reader’s letter on a topic of local interest, please visit our Letters page to find out how.

Recent tweets about M1 MetroBus

@coldsouth_ tweeted (9:15 PM · Sep 14, 2022)

@FirstBSA Your M1 bus has cancelled routes EVERY DAY this week. Why the f**k am I paying £10 more than last year when you don’t even have the competence to have your busses run? They are literally more consistent in how often they get cancelled. You’re a f**king embarrassment.


Related links

Councillor’s concerns

UPDATE added 21st October 2022.

From the draft minutes of a meeting of Bradley Stoke Town Council’s Leisure, Youth & Amenities Committee held on Monday 17th October 2022:

Cllr Tom Aditya remarked that the ongoing M1 and T1 bus cancellations are leading to frustration amongst those using public transport. Driver shortage may be cause of this problem, but last-minute cancellation cites operational inefficiency. Even though new drivers are recruited, problems are still persistent. Service unreliability will cause loss of trust in public transport. The bus company has to productively fix this issue.

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