Another route change on the First Bus 73 service from Sunday (7th April)

Photo of a bus showing the service number '73'.
A service 73 bus approaching the Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke, displaying the destination ‘Whitchurch’.

Bradley Stoke’s 73 bus service will see its route altered for the third time in just over two years when a new timetable comes into effect on Sunday 7th April 2024.

At the northern end of the route, buses will no longer turn around at the Aztec West Business Park (off-peak only) or Pear Tree Road Roundabout but will instead make a clockwise one-way loop along Bradley Stoke Way, Woodlands Lane and Bowsland Way before returning south towards Bristol Parkway.

Map showing part of a bus route.
Revised route of the 73 bus service in north Bradley Stoke from Sunday 7th April 2024.

Between January and September last year, the service terminated at the Eagles Wood westbound stop on Woodlands Lane (east of Pear Tree Roundabout), but since September off-peak journeys have continued to the Approach Road eastbound stop on the Aztec West Business Park, thereby restoring a limited service to the Newleaze and Woodlands Park stops on Woodlands Lane.

But now First Bus says it is axing the route extension to Aztec West because of the impact of traffic congestion.

Explaining the latest route alteration, a spokesperson for First Bus said:

“This change allows us to avoid the heavy congestion at Aztec West Roundabout we have observed since September, whilst continuing to serve key areas of North Bradley Stoke, including Woodlands Lane.”

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After travelling up Brook Way and reaching Patchway Brook Roundabout (near Aldi), northbound buses will serve stops in the following sequence:

  • Woodlands Park (NE-bound)
  • Newleaze (NE-bound)
  • Eagles Wood (E-bound)
  • Foxfield Avenue (E-bound)
  • Westfield Way (SE-bound)
  • Trench Lane (S-bound)
  • Ormonds Close (S-bound)
  • Tresham Close (NW-bound)
  • Campion Drive (W-bound)
  • Chessel Close (SW-bound)

From there, buses will commence their southbound journey down Brook Way towards Bristol Parkway via the Willow Brook Centre.

Photo of a sign at a bus stop.
Sign at a bus stop on the service 73 route: “No services serve this stop”. Archive image from 2022.

Passengers on the affected route section are advised to make sure they wait at the stop on the correct side of the road as the one on the opposite side at each location will no longer be served.

Parkway waiting time

In order to improve the overall punctuality of the service, and to ensure reliable connections with trains at Bristol Parkway, buses will be scheduled wait for around 5 minutes at Bristol Parkway before continuing the route either to north Bradley Stoke or Bristol city centre and then Whitchurch.

Photo of a green bus waiting a a stop.
A service 73 bus waits at Bristol Parkway Station. Archive image from 2020.

Explaining this new feature of the timetable, a spokesperson for First Bus said:

“This allows us to speed up journey times along other parts of the route where more people are making through journeys, whilst also ensuring good levels of punctuality.”

New timetable

The 73 service will operate to a new timetable from Sunday 7th April 2024. The service frequency will remain at approximately ‘every 30 minutes’, although there will be some changes to the hours of operation.

Journeys to Bristol Parkway and city centre

Monday-Friday

  • Total number of journeys reduced from 35 to 33
  • First departure from Eagles Wood at 0628 (previously 0605)
  • Last departure from Eagles Wood at 2308 (previously 2311)

Saturdays

  • Total number of journeys reduced from 34 to 33
  • First departure from Eagles Wood at 0528 (previously 0519)
  • Last departure from Eagles Wood at 2248 (previously 2310)

Sundays

  • Total number of journeys increased from 27 to 32
  • First departure from Eagles Wood at 0608 (previously 0654)
  • Last departure from Eagles Wood at 2239 (previously 2205)
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Journeys from city centre and Bristol Parkway

Monday-Friday

  • Total number of journeys unchanged at 36
  • First departure from The Centre at 0535 (previously 0538)
  • Last departure from The Centre at 2323 (previously 2248)

Saturdays

  • Total number of journeys reduced from 33 to 32
  • First departure from The Centre at 0636 (previously 0626)
  • Last departure from The Centre at 2325 (previously 2248)

Sundays

  • Total number of journeys increased from 25 to 30
  • First departure from The Centre at 0801 (previously 0846)
  • Last departure from The Centre at 2300 (previously 2318)
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Terminus

Note: Some versions of the timetable show the outbound route as ‘Whitchurch – City centre – Bristol Parkway’ and the inbound route as ‘Bristol Parkway – Bradley Stoke – Bristol Parkway – City centre – Whitchurch’, i.e. no stop in Bradley Stoke is considered to be a terminus. This may remove the need for buses to wait for extended periods at the Eagles Wood and other stops in Bradley Stoke, which has previously resulted in complaints from motorists and residents.

Timeline of changes

How the route of the 73 service has been altered in recent years:

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Absence of consultation

Following criticism from town councillors after previous alterations to the 73 service, representatives from First Bus promised to consult with the town council ahead of any future changes. However, the Journal understands that, once again, no such consultation from either First Bus or Weca (the local transport authority) has taken place prior to the recently announced April 2024 route change.

More information

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