Metro Mayor Dan Norris has today unveiled a £7m package of improvements that will see buses running at “turn up and go frequencies” during rush hour on five key West of England routes; buses every 15 minutes on more main line routes that serve passengers changing from a WESTlink minibus, and over 3,000 additional journey hours each week added to timetables from April.
The plan is a partnership of investment by the Metro Mayor and commercial operator First Bus, thanks to funding secured via the West of England Combined Authority’s Bus Service Improvement Plan.
The Metro Mayor hailed the ‘turn up and go’ plans for five Bristol bus routes at peak times, which will see eight buses run each hour along Gloucester Road and Filton Avenue, nine buses an hour through Church Road, 10 an hour to Fishponds and 13 from the University of the West of England (UWE) to Bristol city centre.
Mr Norris said: “Turn up and go means passengers will no longer need to worry about checking a timetable as they will know a bus will normally arrive quickly. I’ll be monitoring this closely to see if London-style frequency is something that really encourages people to get out of their cars and onto buses as it does in the capital. If so, then this is just the kind of top-class bus service I would like to roll out right across our West of England region”.
More buses will also be added to routes that travel through the heart of areas where Mayor Norris’s WESTlink minibuses are set to arrive this spring and summer.
This will mean passengers can more efficiently link to a bus on a main route from Midsomer Norton to Bath, and between Brislington and Keynsham to Bristol (the X39, 349 and 522). These will increase in frequency to run at least every 15 minutes as will Service 1 (Bath to Southdown), 5 (Bath to Whiteway) and 42/43 (Bristol to Kingswood). On top of this, the T1 service in Thornbury will gain an extra bus every hour.
In total, more than 3,000 additional journey hours each week will be added to timetables from April, with the total distance covered by West of England buses each year increasing by 1.5 million miles. Mayor Norris said the aim is to ensure West of England buses are not just more reliable in future, but more frequent too – to attract back former passengers and win new passengers as people ditch their cars for the bus.
He said: “Many more people will now have the chance to catch more frequent buses thanks to this significant investment from my West of England Mayoral Combined Authority. I want to go even further, as we train up even more drivers. Right now, I would encourage people to use the bus. More passengers means more fare income which I’ll reinvest in even better buses so we can build a virtuous circle”.