April service changes

New cross-city routes and services reconnecting communities

Three extra cross-city bus routes are being introduced in Bristol as part of a package of changes from First West of England this spring.

A new service 41 connecting Kingswood and East Bristol with Sea Mills, Shirehampton and Avonmouth will result in journeys between Avonmouth and the city centre taking less than 30 minutes. The new service will offer more transport to the big employment hubs around Avonmouth, and provide more buses on one of Bristol’s busiest bus routes. The service will operate every 30 minutes during peak times every day, and the timetable will be aligned to shift start times at Avonmouth.

A new cross-city connection (service 5) between St Anne’s and Clifton will also be introduced. It will replace the current service 36 (city centre to St Anne’s) and will be extended to take in the Bristol Hippodrome and Park Street, before heading on to Clifton.  It will operate every day and provide journeys into the evening, and will run alongside service 8 (Temple Meads to Clifton) to provide extra capacity on this busy route.

And the third cross-city route will see service 77 connect Henleaze to Gloucester Road via the city centre. It will be the only route to directly link the busy and popular shopping and leisure areas of Stokes Croft and Whiteladies Road with the city centre every 30 minutes at peak times. It will also help relieve pressure on other nearby bus routes.

These three new cross-city routes, which will be introduced on 7th April, join two others which were introduced last October, helping to connect different parts of Bristol, and also make travelling by bus cheaper for passengers.

George Burton, Head of Network for First West of England, said: “All the changes we’re introducing in April are as a result of listening to our customers, local residents and working with local councils. We’ve also been able to work closely with the West of England Combined Authority to consider introducing new routes without the need for public funding.

“Introducing new cross-city routes, adding capacity, creating faster, express journeys and connecting more parts of the West of England, coupled with single ticket prices frozen and our Tap On, Tap Off technology making it quicker to travel and ensuring you pay the cheapest fares, shows we’re doing all we can to encourage more people to make bus the travel of choice.”

There is also good news for two large residential areas in the city which will see a bus route reintroduced. Service 24 will once again serve Ashton Vale via South Liberty Lane, providing a route to Southmead Hospital every 15 minutes at peak times; and a new half-hourly service 47 serving Oldbury Court Estate with direct links to Fishponds Road, Stapleton Road, Broadmead and the City Centre.

The two new services are being introduced following discussions with the West of England Combined Authority and concerns from local residents, after they were cut from the Bristol network in recent years because of underusage and a driver shortage as a result of the pandemic.

George Burton said: “After the pandemic we had to make some tough decisions about our network, some of which were affected by a drop in passenger numbers as well as pressure on funding and our own resources, such as driver availability.

“We’re now firmly in a post-pandemic recovery, and following a successful recruitment campaign our driver numbers have increased, and we’re seeing great signs that people are returning to bus travel and new people are using the bus.” 

Among other changes from 7th April are:

  • Quicker journeys from Fishponds and Eastville to the city centre will be available by making every other service 48 and 49 (city centre to Emersons Green) an express bus via the M32. This will reduce journey times by up to 12 minutes.
  • The routes of services 3 and 4 (city centre to Cribbs Causeway) will change so that both are extended to Cribbs Causeway, allowing buses to be spaced evenly within the hour resulting in Lawrence Weston benefiting from a bus to Cribbs Causeway and the city centre every 15 minutes.
  • A new express service D1x (Bath to Warminster) will be introduced between Trowbridge and Bath, making the journey between Bradford-on-Avon and Bath 15 minutes quicker. The service has been designed in partnership with Wiltshire Council and will be supported by funds from its Bus Service Improvement Plan.
  • Passengers in Bridgwater and Taunton will be able to take one bus to Bristol following the introduction of new services 374 and 375 via Glastonbury and Wells, making it one of the longest bus routes in the south-west, and costing an adult less than 5p per mile as a result of the ongoing government £2 fare scheme.

The proposed changes are part of a bi-annual review of routes by First West of England, and will come into force on Sunday 7th April.

Timetables for the new routes will be published in the coming weeks, and customers should check details on the First West of England website before travelling ahead of the new timetables coming into effect.