Major timetable and route changes have been announced by the main bus operator serving the West of England region.
First Bus has rolled out the revisions from today (Sunday, August 29), affecting passengers across Bristol and parts of Somerset and Gloucestershire.
There are 16 routes affected in Bristol and the surrounding area, 14 routes affected in the Weston-super-Mare area, and about 30 routes in the Bath and wider area.
Some of the route changes are to reflect students’ return to schools, colleges and universities, some appear to be due to the changing seasons and reduction of tourists, and others are due to a general lack of demand.
Following a review of financial support from the West of England Combined Authority, bus service number 18 between Bath and Kingswood via Keynsham and North Common will be withdrawn.
First has advised passengers travelling between Bath and Keynsham to use services 39, X39 and A4 (operated by Bath Bus Company), and has confirmed service 19 between Bath and Cribbs Causeway via Kingswood will continue.
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Doug Claringbold, managing director of First West of England, said: “We are constantly monitoring service usage and reviewing our timetables to reflect customer demand which, although steadily rising overall post pandemic, has remained, and looks likely to remain, very low on some routes.
“Working in close partnership with the West of England Combined Authority, we have to ensure we are providing an adequate and reliable service for our customers where it is needed most.”
He said passengers are still being encouraged to travel at quieter times and book in advance if possible, and to wear face coverings on board “for their own sake and that of their fellow passengers”.
Frequency of some popular services are being increased, while others are being cut back or scrapped completely due to “extremely low demand”.
Service A3, which serves Bristol Airport, continues to be suspended “until demand for travel increases”.
Key changes across the region
- Services 4, 4a and 4b: Will additionally serve Upper Weston, providing residents with a more frequent and direct bus service to and from the city centre. However, Service 20 will no longer serve Upper Weston
Service 5: Due to “very low customer demand”, Service 5 will no longer serve Bromley Heath and from Overndale Road, buses will operate directly via Cleeve Hill to The Horseshoe in Downend. The route change will mean that Service 5 will no longer serve Bromley Heath Road, Quakers Road, Queensholm Drive, Four Acre Road and Badminton Road. Customers in the Bromley Heath area may be able to complete their journeys by using Services 19, 48 and Y2. A small number of evening journeys Monday-Saturday and Sunday and public holiday services will be withdrawn
- Service D2: A small number of off-peak journeys by Service D2 will additionally serve Rode, to “provide off-peak leisure and retail journey opportunities to and from Bath”. These changes have been agreed in partnership with Somerset County Council
Service 12: First will start operating Service 12 on Sunday and public holidays between Severn Beach and Cribbs Causeway, providing four journeys in each direction. There will be minor changes to the current timetable operated by Stagecoach for operational reasons and to improve journey times for those working at The Mall. Stagecoach season ticket holders (who operate the service Monday-Saturday) will also be able to use these tickets on this service
Service 18, between Bath and Kingswood: Following a review of financial support from the West of England Combined Authority, bus service number 18 between Bath and Kingswood via Keynsham and North Common will be withdrawn. Customers travelling between Bath and Keynsham will be able to use Services 39, X39 and A4 (operated by Bath Bus Company). Service 19 will continue to operate between Bath and Cribbs Causeway via Kingswood as an alternative
Service 19: Minor change to the route designed to improve access to Charlton Hayes. Changes to some journeys around school start and finish times to accommodate travel to and from Oldfield School
Service 35: Monday to Saturday, Service 35 will operate every 90 minutes between Kingswood and Marshfield, only providing additional journeys each day over this section of route and resulting in a Saturday timetable operating. Some journeys will extend to and from Lawrence Hill or Bristol Bus Station, however at other times customers will need to change buses at Kingswood for travel across Kingswood
Service 42: Will operate every 60 minutes instead of every 30 minutes between Odd Down Park and Ride and the Royal United Hospital. Departure times designed to suit staff shift patterns at the Royal United Hospital where possible
Service 126, serving Wells depot: Sunday and Public Holiday timetable will be withdrawn due to low demand and to reflect end of the high summer season. Where possible the timetable is amended to provide journeys for customers travelling to and from Blue School and Weston College.
Service 349: All journeys currently operated by Abus on behalf of First will now be operated by First, with a revised timetable
Service 622: First will start operating Service 622 on Sunday and public holidays between Thornbury and Cribbs Causeway via Alveston and Almondsbury, providing three journeys in each direction. This is currently operated by Stagecoach and Stagecoach season ticket holders will also be able to use these tickets on this service
Service T1: Sunday and public holiday frequency will be reduced from every 30 minutes to 60 minutes, which reinstates the frequency of buses pre-Covid-19
X1: Reduction in frequency of every 15 minutes to every 20 minutes Monday-Friday, and from 30 minutes to 60 minutes in the evening. A small number of Sunday and public holiday early morning journeys will be withdrawn
X3, X3a, X4: Additional journeys will operate Monday-Saturday daytime between Bristol Bus Station and Pill, which will increase the frequency of buses serving Easton-in-Gordano and Pill from every 60 minutes to every 30 minutes
X6: Some early morning X6 journeys between Bristol and Clevedon will be withdrawn due to “extremely low customer demand”
X7: Some late evening journeys from Clevedon to Bristol will be withdrawn due to “extremely low customer demand”
Service Y1: Sunday and Public Holiday frequency will be reduced from every 30 minutes to 60 minutes, which reinstates the frequency of buses pre-Covid-19
A new service, the number 82, has been announced to travel through Radstock, Midsomer Norton and Paulton.
First Group said this will replace the service previously operated by Frome Bus, and tickets will cost a £2.50 flat fare applied to the whole route.
The list above is not exhaustive and there are minor changes on several other routes – check the First Bus website to see if your bus journey is affected.