First Bus service 73 set to return to axed stops on Woodlands Lane (but off-peak only)

Photo of a green bus.
A First Bus service 73 vehicle, pictured on Bradley Stoke Way.

Bradley Stoke’s 73 bus service, which has had its route truncated twice over the last 18 months, is to have a small part of its former route reinstated from September 2023, subject to regulatory approval.

The most recent route amendment, in January 2023, saw the section between Bradley Stoke and Cribbs Causeway being cut, leaving the service terminating at the Eagles Wood stop in north Bradley Stoke (to the east of Pear Tree Roundabout, near the Toby Carvery). This change particularly disadvantaged residents of Woodlands Park, who would have previously accessed the service from the Newleaze and Woodlands Park stops on Woodlands Lane.

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Kitchen & Laundry Appliance Care, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

Following pressure from Bradley Stoke town and district councillors, operator First West of England is now proposing to slightly extend the 73’s route so that it once again serves the full length of Woodlands Lane, thereby reinstating access to the service at the Newleaze and Woodlands Park stops.

Map of a bus route.
Proposed route extension (shown red) of the First Bus 73 service in Bradley Stoke – from September 2023.

However, a statement issued by First (see below) says the minor route extension will only operate “at off-peak times”, presumably to avoid buses getting stuck in the notorious traffic queues that can form along this section of Woodlands Lane during the morning and evening peaks.

First says it is also “considering” the possibility of further extending the route to additionally serve the Approach Road stop within the Aztec West Business Park, but again only “at off-peak times”.

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The statement makes no mention of a possible reinstatement of the section of the 73’s former route through the south-eastern corner of the town, along Baileys Court Road and Webbs Wood Road, which was axed in January 2022.

First Bus statement

In response to an enquiry from the Journal, First Bus operations manager Matthew Bryant said:

“We’ve had some really constructive discussions with the local community in and around Bradley Stoke, and have listened to their concerns about the 73 service.”

“I’m pleased to report that as part of our biannual changes to services, we are proposing an off-peak extension to the route along the whole length of Woodlands Lane. We are also considering whether that route can also serve the Aztec West Business Park at off-peak times, while balancing the need to provide an efficient bus service for the majority of customers along the full length of route.”

“There is a process we need to go through with our partners, including local councils, before our plans are finalised. Any changes will come into effect from September [2023].”

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The 73 service currently runs between the Eagles Wood stop in north Bradley Stoke and Bristol city centre – via the Willow Brook Centre, Parkway Station, Filton Avenue and Gloucester Road.

Look out for a further article on the Journal website once full details of the route amendment and timetable are confirmed – most likely in mid-July. Be the first to hear by subscribing to our email newsletter.

Related link: Bus Services in Bradley Stoke (The Journal)

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