First Bus Bristol cancellations: Hundreds of journeys across 19 city routes withdrawn over driver shortages

The routes worst hit are the numbers 48a, 74 and 75

‘Ongoing driver shortages’ have resulted in First Bus withdrawing more than 500 scheduled bus journeys in Bristol every week until at least April. The announcement comes only a month after a new and reduced timetable came into play on October 9.

Problems with the group’s bus routes have been reported extensively in recent weeks - despite managing director Dough Claringbold claiming the ‘vast majority’ of users would see a more reliable service when the new timeable came in last month.

One of the main issues, says First Bus, is a lack of trained drivers; leading to daily cancellations and frustration among fed-up users. Just this week, Metro Mayor Dan Norris suggested the group target students in its bid to fill the gap in drivers.

And today (November 16) First Bus took the action to cancel hundreds of scheduled journeys across 19 routes from now until April 2, when the group warned there will be another major change to its timetables. The full list of cancellations can be seen here.

Around half of the cancellations are on weekends. The routes worst hit are the numbers 48a, 74 and 75 - impacting people travelling from south Bristol and north west Bristol into the city centre, as well as those coming from Emersons Green and Kingswood.

In a statement, the group said: “Due to ongoing driver shortages, which are making it difficult to operate all journeys in our current timetables, we have removed some journeys across several services. The cancelled journeys, which are listed below, will show as cancelled on the First Bus app, and on the real time information screens at bus stops

“We are doing our utmost to address the driver shortage but doing so will inevitably take some time. As a result, we expect these cancellations to remain in place until at least the next major change to timetables on Sunday 2nd April, which is a date agreed between all operators and the West of England Combined Authority.

“We regret having to do this as we appreciate it will cause some disruption, but by giving customers advance notice of cancellations rather than having to learn of them on the day, we want to make it easier for travel plans to be adjusted. Cancelling these journeys in advance also enables our operations teams to focus on delivering a more reliable service for our customers, rather than dealing with cancelling journeys on the day.

“We would like to thank customers for their patience and understanding as we manage this difficult situation.”

The services impacted are the number 1 (Broomhill to Cribbs Causeway), 2 (Cribbs Causeway to Stockwood), 3 and 4 (Cribbs Causeway to city centre), 8 (Temple Meads to Bristol Zoo), 24 (Southmead Hospital to Ashton Gate), 42 (Bitton to city centre), 43 (Cadbury Heath to city centre), 48 (Bristol to Emersons Green), 48a (UWE Frenchay Campus to city centre) , 49 (Emersons Green to city centre), 70 (Frenchay to city centre), 73 (Temple Meads to Cribbs Causeway), 74 (Horfield to city centre), 75 and 76 (Hengrove to Cribbs Causeway, 90, 91 and 92 (city centre to Hengrove).