Interviews by Community Reporter Ian Watt
Bus operator First West of England has made significant changes to the South Bristol network from 6 January – due to the launch of the m1 metrobus on this date.
First says it has been necessary to make these changes as the new m1 metrobus service provides “a lot of extra capacity”.
Service 90 follows its current route between the city centre and Throgmorton Road, and then operates via Creswicke Road, Hengrove Way and Roman Farm Road.
But the route along Creswicke Road, Inns Court Avenue, Novers Lane and Hartcliffe Way is no longer being served – with the m1 metrobus covering Creswicke Road at Filwood Broadway and Inns Court Avenue through to Novers Lane as an alternative.
There are no changes to the frequency of buses on the 90 or the hours of operation.
Introduction of 91 and 92
The 91 and 92 have been introduced to replace existing services 2A, 50 and 50A.
Service 91 operates every 30 minutes, every day, on the current 50/50A route from the end of Salcombe Road via Ilminster Avenue and Leinster Avenue, Hartcliffe Way and Hengrove Way to Hengrove Depot.
The section of the service 50 route between Hengrove Way/Airport Road and Hengrove Depot will be covered by service 92.
In response to customer requests, the new 91 will provide a direct service from Leinster Avenue to and from the centre and Temple Meads. Leinster Avenue used to only be served by the 36, with a lengthy journey time to and from the city centre.
New service 92 is now operating along the old 2A route and also covering the withdrawn section of the service 50 route between Wharnecliffe Gardens and Belland Drive.
The 92 runs seven days a week from early till late, providing customers with an expanded service compared to the 2A,
Some early morning, late evening and Monday to Friday off-peak journeys will continue beyond Belland Drive to Hengrove Depot via Whitchurch Lane, South Bristol Community Hospital and Hengrove Leisure Park.
New 96 service replaces part of 36
Service 96 will be introduced as part of a major overhaul of service 36. First says the length of the current 36 route “seriously impacts on its reliability as it travels through some of the most congested parts of the city.”
From 6 January, the 36 has been split into two services. A new 36 service now covers between the city centre and Brislington via Barton Hill and St Anne’s. It runs every 30 minutes – with an increase to 20-minute frequency at peak times, Monday to Friday – and will make evening journeys Monday to Saturday.
Following consultation the new 96 running between Hengrove Depot, via Hengrove Park Hospital, Broadwalk Shopping Centre and Brislington will additionally serve Callington Road Hospital and the Tesco superstore.
The service will operate every 60 minutes Monday to Saturday daytime (there is no late evening or Sunday/public holiday timetable).
Customers wishing to make journeys across Brislington will be able to inter-change between Services 36 and 96 at School Road.
Bus passenger reviews
There have been mixed reviews from the community as they get used to the changes – with many welcoming the shorter journey times but some finding the new schedule confusing.
Jenny Young (68) from Inns Court said: “We got leaflets about the m1 but there’s been no information about the 90 stopping through here it would be nice to know. What used to be the 36 – where is it? We’ve seen the 91 and 92 but it’s just confusing, there’s no information on the normal buses around the area.”
And Sandra Jenkins (67) was concerned the bus stop at the end of Carisbrooke Road was no longer in use now the 90 had been re-routed.
She said: “A lot of people have complained. It’s a nightmare. The metrobus is only stopping at these bus stops, Filwood Broadway and Inns Court. They don’t stop at Carisbrook any more…
” You won’t see a lot of older people taking it as they have to walk further to the stops especially after Bedminster when you buy all the groceries. It’s ridiculous.”
Christine Houselander (76) said of the 96: “Now it’s only going to the park and ride and back the journey’s shorter.”
But Cyril Trimnel was concerned it was now less frequent, although the journey might be quicker.
He told The Knowledge: “They’ve made an error that they’ve put it every hour instead of every half hour.”
Daniel Newton (29) who was waiting for a bus from Leinster Avenue which is now serviced by the 91 and the 96 said: “There’s more of them now so you’re not stuck here for ages.”
First West of England has said “the overall impact of these changes is a significant increase in buses serving South Bristol.”
The company will be looking to see how the m1 performs and this together with customer feedback, will be the basis on which they will “continue to develop” the South Bristol network.
A First spokesperson said: “We apologise for any inconvenience that may have been caused by the introduction of the new m1 service and the re-routing of the number 90. This was because the section through Inns Court and Novers Lane is now covered by the m1 metrobus which is at a higher frequency of every 10 minutes rather than the 90’s every 15 minutes – so represents an increase in service level along that stretch.
“Carisbrooke Road stop is not on the m1 route as this has been designed to significantly improve journey times. The stop nearby at Inns Court is now servicing those customers.
“In terms of notices for the other service changes, as well as website information, buses have all displayed posters showing which services are going to change, and there is also a booklet that details the changes to the routes. These have been circulated on the buses in the area in their leaflet holders. Some bus stops in the area also carry notices about changes.”