Major changes to bus services announced today

bus changesA major redesign of bus services in east Bristol and South Gloucestershire has been announced today.

The shake-up – the second this year – comes after consultation with residents and starts on Sunday 23rd August. The changes affect services including the 42, 43, 44 and 45, the 17 and 17A and the X18.

First says the changes will create new bus links between hospitals, schools as well as where people live and work.

They are so major that First says it will be holding a roadshow closer to the change date and will produce maps that will be put up in key areas and on bus stops.

“We have worked hard with local residents to ensure that the bus services are working for the communities we serve,” said Jenny MacLeod, general manager for Bristol.

“We have increased the amount of time we give many buses to complete their routes to try to iron out those routes that are suffering punctuality issues.”

Areas in Cadbury Heath, North Common and Willsbridge will benefit from a new direct link to Southmead Hospital (17A).

North Common residents will also benefit as the 43 (City Centre to Bitton) which will serve them every 20 minutes from Monday to Saturday.

The news has been welcomed by local councillors in North Common and by MP Chris Skidmore. All campaigned for better services, particularly after Wessex’s 533 was removed earlier this year.

Mr Skidmore said: “It is fantastic news that after the petition and public meeting we held in North Common back in February, First have listened to local residents in North Common. I am delighted that this local campaign has paid off, but will be continuing to campaign for better routes in the whole of the Kingswood constituency.”

While welcoming the changes, Bitton parish councillor Jane Allinson said the campaign for a direct service linking North Common to the vital amenities at Aspects Leisure Centre and Gallagher Retail Park at Longwell Green would continue.

First says the changes to the 42 (City Centre – Bitton) via Kingswood and Cadbury Heath) are reflective of several meetings and public consultation with residents who were concerned by regular double-decker vehicles travelling on residential streets in the vicinity of Cherry Garden School.

To accommodate these changes the 17A will operate a modified route from Cock Road in Kingswood. It will go via Wraxall Road, Tower Road South, Mill Lane, Millers Drive, High Street, North Street (past Sir Bernard Lovell School), Cherry Garden Lane, Kenilworth Drive and Bath Road, where it will join its current route. This change mirrors the current 42 route which after 23rd August will no longer serve Keynsham.

The 17A route between Southmead Hospital and Fishponds will remain the same but from Fishponds it will go via Forest Road, Briar Way and Hillfields Avenue where it will re-join the current route. This change will accommodate the withdrawal of the 83 ((Kingswood – Thornbury).

The 17 (Southmead Hospital – Keynsham) will additionally serve Hanham Common. And the route of the X18 will also change, creating new links for areas between Kingswood, New Cheltenham & Lyde Green and Parkway Station and Southmead Hospital.

The 43 will no longer serve Cadbury Heath, which will be served by the 42, 44 and 45.

The 44 will no longer link Kingswood and Hanham which instead will be linked by the 17.  From Hanham the 44 will operate via Stonehill, Marsham Way, Craven Way (past Asda), Wraxall Road and Newton Road where it will terminate.

The route of the 45 between the City Centre and Cadbury Heath (Newton Road shops) remains unchanged but it will then terminate and no longer serve Wraxall Road, Craven Way and Longwell Green Aspects Leisure Park due to “very low customer demand”.

Some other changes announced today include:

The timetables of Service 6 (City Centre – Kingswood) and 7 (City Centre – Staple Hill/Mangotsfield) have been significantly altered. More time will be given for buses to complete the route.

The 48, 49 and new service 48A (City Centre to UWE) will create a five-minute frequency between the City Centre and Fishponds. Night journeys on the 48 will be extended to serve the full route to Emersons Green. Alongside the new night journeys on the 49, customers between the City Centre and Fishponds will benefit from a 30-minute service throughout the night.

Due to the popularity of the X48, First has put an extra journey departing Lyde Green at 7.15am.

On Sundays and public holidays the 38 (Bristol Bus Station – Bath (via Keynsham) will operate every two hours, which means there will be two less buses in each direction.

The new timetables will be uploaded to First’s website from early August and will be available in hard copy format from mid-August.