Eight bus services in Bristol will be cut from October 9, plus there will be cuts in routes or reduction in frequences to several other services, First Bus has confirmed this morning.
The bus operator said the changes were to ‘balance customer demand with available resource to deliver reliable services for its customers into the future’. The company has struggled with a shortage of drivers in recent months, while passenger numbers are reportedly below pre-pandemic levels.
The changes were shared with local authorities including Bristol City Council in July to allow the maximum time for alternative options to be drawn up, the operator said.
Doug Claringbold, Managing Director of First West of England, said: “The very last thing any transport operator wants to do is reduce or cut any services. We recognise the impact these changes will have on some of our communities and we are truly sorry for those who will be affected. We’ve actively engaged with local authorities to try to keep these services running.
“We had high hopes that, as we moved beyond the pandemic and Covid restrictions, we would see a stronger recovery in bus use.
“Unfortunately, the world has changed more than we predicted and we are still seeing a significantly lower level of bus use, as well as different travel patterns across our network. On top of this, like the rest of the bus industry and other sectors, we are operating against the backdrop of rising business costs and labour shortages that are particularly acute in our area.”
“Our data shows that passengers do not use these services in sufficient numbers and are unlikely to return in the future. Along with the significant driver shortages, this means we simply have no choice but to withdraw or reduce those services and ensure we focus on running buses where there are enough customers travelling.”
The services to be withdrawn on October 9:
5: Downend - Bristol
71: Hengrove to Muller Road
72A: Temple Meads - UWE Frenchay
96: Hengrove - Brislington
178: Radstock - Bristol
X2: Bristol - Yatton
Y3: Yate - Bristol
Y4: Yate - Bristol
Y5: Chipping Sodbury - Bristol
47: Provide a partial replacement for the majority of customers on Services 5, Y3, Y4 and Y5. Journeys will operate from Bristol City Centre, Lewins Mead to Yate via City Road, Ashley Road, Sussex Place, St Werburghs, Eastgate, Fishponds Road, Fishponds, Oldbury Court, Downend, Emersons Green, Pucklechurch and Westerleigh. In Yate, journeys will serve North Yate and Brimsham Park.
74: Provide a replacment for customers on Service 71. Journeys will operatreervice 71 – will be withdrawn and replaced with Service 74, which will operate between UWE, Frenchay Campus and Bristol City Centre via Station Road, Filton Road, Gloucester Road and BroadmeadProv
379: Provide a partial replacement for the majority of customers on Service 178 and reduce journey times to and from Bristol compared to that route. Journeys will operate from Bristol Bus Station to Bath Bus Station via Wells Road, Hallatrow, Paulton, Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Peasedown St John and Odd Down.
- Service 17 – will extend from Southmead Hospital to Bristol Bus Station via Gloucester Road
- Service 36 – will terminate at St Annes
- Service 48a – will increase in frequency from Monday 19th September for the start of the new academic year at UWE
- Service 70 – will extend to terminate at Bristol Temple Meads Station
- Service 71 – will be withdrawn and replaced with Service 74, which will operate between UWE, Frenchay Campus and Bristol City Centre via Station Road, Filton Road, Gloucester Road and Broadmead
- Service 349 – one journey in each direction will extend to Midsomer Norton for students attending St Brendan’s College
- Service A1 – will increase in frequency to meet the demands of the winter flying programme at Bristol Airport
- Service A3 – there will be an additional journey departing at 02.15 from Weston-super-Mare
- Service m3 – with the start of the new academic year at UWE, Service m3 will double in frequency to every 10 minutes, Monday to Friday, between UWE, Frenchay Campus and Bristol City Centre from Monday 19th September. There are no changes to weekend services, and to the frequency of buses between UWE and Emersons Green
- Service m3x – in response to customer demand, 3 m3x journeys will be introduced for the afternoon/early evening peak between Bristol City Centre and Emersons Green
- Service T1 – will now terminate at Bristol Bus Station
- Service U1 will resume from Monday 19th September for the start of the new academic year at the University of Bristol
- Service U3 – with the start of the new academic year at UWE, Service U3 will be reintroduced from Monday 19th September to provide late night Monday to Saturday journeys (between 0000-0400) between City Centre and UWE via the M32
- Service X5 – will no longer continue to Bristol. Customers can change to Service X4 in Portishead to continue their journey to Bristol
- Service Y1 – will now terminate at Bristol Bus Station
- Service Y6 – will extend from Southmead Hospital to Bristol Bus Station via Gloucester Road
- Services 1, 2, 2a, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 42, 43, 44, 45, 48, 49, 75, 76, 90, 91 and 92 will have minor timetable changes to improve punctuality and reliability, and changes to stopping arrangements in Bristol City Centre.
The new timetables will be made available closer to October 9.