Service changes affecting bus services in and around North Somerset from 3 November

Service changes affecting bus services in and around North Somerset from 3 November

In order to improve the overall service provision for customers, First in West of England is making a series of changes to the bus services it operates in and around Bristol and North Somerset from 3 November.

The changes affect a number of services running to and from places such as Bath, Clevedon, Chepstow, Thornbury, Portishead, Nailsea, Newport and Weston-super-Mare.  A handful of changes are also being made to services operating within Bristol too.

As part of the changes some routes are being renumbered, and some new routes are being created.  In other cases extra journeys are being added into the timetables of existing routes – something which is expected to be popular and well used in the run up to Christmas – and elsewhere some frequency improvements are being made.

Talking about the changes, Simon Ford, Commercial Manager for First in West of England, says: “The changes being made in November are designed to make travelling by bus easier and simpler for all customers. We have taken steps to overhaul the numbers we use to identify our services, so that we use simpler, lower numbers that are easier for customers to remember. For instance from 3 November Services X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, X8 and X9 will all provide journey opportunities in and around North Somerset and Bristol.  This is a significant improvement on the previous numbering system which included Services 23, 125, 354, 361, 362, 363, X23, X24, X25 etc.

“The changes being made in November are overwhelmingly positive. There are frequency improvements, extra journeys and six new services being created. We believe this will all help to stimulate bus use in and around Bristol, which in turn will help cut levels of traffic congestion in the longer term.  We hope people get on board and support these alterations.

“New timetable information for the affected services is already available online and will be available in hard copy format from 25 October. We would strongly advise customers to check this before they travel so that they understand what is happening and how they may be affected by the changes.”

For more information visit www.firstgroup.com/bristol.

Specific changes from 3 November include:

Service 903 (Long Ashton Park and Ride): From 3 November a number of extra Monday – Friday evening journeys will be added into the timetable at the request of Bristol City Council. The changes will make it easier for commuters and shoppers to use the service later in the evening. Notably the last journey back from the centre (St Augustines Parade) will leave at 2052 hours (compares to 1911 hours at present).

Service 102 (Weston-super-Mare – Bridgwater via Puriton): The timetable for this service is changing from 10 November. From this date buses will be extended to run to and from Bridgwater, offering customers more opportunities to travel between the two points. Customers are advised to check the new timetables carefully – they are available online already and will be available hard copy format from travel shops shortly before the changes take effect.

Service 112 (Weston-super-Mare – Bridgwater): This service is being withdrawn in its current format from 10 November. From that date Service 21 (Taunton – Burnham-on-Sea / Weston-super-Mare) buses will replace the route, as they will be extended beyond Burnham on Sea on an hourly basis to offer journeys between the three towns.  Buses will follow the same route as they currently do and will remain hourly, however customers are advised to check the new timetable carefully  to ensure that they know what is happening and how it may impact on them- they are available online already and will be available hard copy format from travel shops shortly before the changes take effect.

Service 121 (Bristol – Weston-super-Mare): First is taking over the operation of this route, which is currently operated by a third party under contract to North Somerset Council, on a mostly commercial basis from 3 November. The move both saves the council money and also ensures the future of the service is safeguarded. The route that buses take will remain largely the same but there will be small changes in both Weston-super-Mare and Bristol. Notably buses will no longer serve either Bristol Temple Meads railway station or Weston-super-Mare’s railway station. Instead Service 121 will start and terminate at Marine Parade in Weston-super-Mare, and in Bristol buses will operate via Broad Quay.  Some journeys, specifically those operating Monday – Saturday evenings, will be supported financially by the council.  On Sundays journeys will be provided by a third party, under contract to the council although tickets issued by First, for instance FirstWeek, FirstMonth tickets, will still be valid for travel on these days.

Service 125 (Weston-super-Mare – Portishead): This service is being withdrawn in its current format from 3 November: it is being replaced by a new Service X4/X5 – see details below.

Service 126 (Weston-super-Mare – Wells): A number of changes are being made to the timetable of this service from 3 November.  Specifically the pattern of departures throughout the day is being revised to provide a more even spread of journeys. In addition two early morning journeys, the 0639 hours Monday to Friday departure from Cheddar and the 0700 hours Saturday departure from Cheddar, are being withdrawn due to the fact that very few people use them. Alternative journeys will be available at 0734 hours on weekdays and 0754 hours on Saturdays. Elsewhere the company is making some minor adjustments to the timetable to improve the overall punctuality and reliability of the service.

Service 354 (Bristol – Nailsea): This service is being withdrawn in its current format from 3 November, it is being replaced by a new Service X8 – see details below.

Service 361 (Bristol – Clevedon): This service is being withdrawn in its current format from 3 November: it is being replaced by a new Service X6 - see details below.

Service 362 / 363 (Bristol – Clevedon): These services are being withdrawn in their current format from 3 November. People wishing to travel though will have alternatives in the form of the newly created Services X6 (Bristol - Clevedon) and X8 (Bristol – Nailsea – Clevedon / Portishead) – see details below.

Service X23 / X24 (Weston-super-Mare – Nailsea / Clevedon): This route is being withdrawn from 3 November however replacement journeys will be provided by the new Service X4 / X5 – see details below.

Service X25 (Portishead – Cribbs Causeway): This route is being withdrawn from 3 November however like for like replacement journeys will be provided by the new Service X5 in most cases – see details below.

Service X2 / X3 (Bristol - Portishead) and Service 23 (Bristol - Portishead): Following the success of Services X2 and X3 since their introduction in March a number of additional improvements are being made from 3 November. At the same time Service 23 – which has provided journeys on an hourly basis during the evenings and on Sundays and Public Holidays on a partly tendered basis – is being withdrawn.

From 3 November the timetables of Services X2 and X3 are being improved so that the frequency buses operating during the evening (Monday – Saturday) is effectively doubled. From this date the services will each operate every 60 minutes, collectively providing a journey every half an hour along common sections of the route.  The changes are expected to be welcomed by those working late or wanting to enjoy a night out in Bristol and travel home by bus.

Changes are also being made to the Sunday / Public Holiday daytime timetable.  Reflecting the changes being made to weekday evenings, buses on Sundays and Public Holiday daytimes will also run every half an hour along common sections of the route. During the evenings on these days buses will run hourly on Service X2.

The alterations will bring a number of positive benefits: Firstly the majority of daytime journeys will become fully commercial journeys, no longer requiring any support from North Somerset Council. In addition the timetable will now be simpler overall, and for those wishing to travel between Portishead Marina and the Town Centre during the evenings and on Sundays and Public Holidays, the journey will now be possible in both directions (a significant improvement on the current position).

People who use the service are strongly advised to get a copy of the new timetable so they can understand what is happening.

NEW Service X4 / X5 (Weston-super-Mare – Portishead / Nailsea – Cribbs Causeway): A new Service X4 / X5 has been created to effectively replace what are currently known as Services 125 / X23 /X24 /X25.

Service X4 will provide a limited number of journeys Monday to Friday between Weston-super-Mare and Clevedon, with some journeys continuing onto Portishead or Nailsea, while Service X5 will replace what was Service 125 between Weston-super-Mare and Portishead and what was Service X25 between Portishead and Cribbs Causeway. There are no changes to the routes however the timetable has been altered in places to ensure a more consistent spread of departures through the day.

Customers who previously used Services 125 / X23 /X24 /X25 are strongly advised to check the timetables for the new Services X4 and X5 before the changes take effect so they understand what is happening.

NEW Service X6 (Bristol – Clevedon):  This new service effectively replaces what was Service 361 between Bristol and Clevedon. There are no changes to the route, but the timetable has been overhauled to improve it for customers.  Specifically the frequency of buses running Monday to Friday will be doubled to provide one bus every half an hour.   Finally, in response to passenger requests, the timetable is also being adjusted to offer an earlier first journey into Bristol during the morning (Monday – Friday) and a later last journey from Bristol to Clevedon on Saturday evenings.

NEW Service X8 (Bristol – Nailsea – Clevedon / Portishead):  This brand new service offers a replacement for what were Services 354, 362 and 363, while also offering a partial replacement (in combination with Service X5) for what was Service 66 (which was operated by a third party). 

Buses will operate every 30 minutes (Monday – Saturday) between Bristol and Nailsea running via Backwell, with one journey an hour being extended beyond Nailsea to Clevedon, and another extended once an hour to Portishead.  Buses will also run hourly during the evenings (Monday – Saturday) and all day on Sundays and Public Holidays, with all journeys operating Bristol to Clevedon via Nailsea.

The following summarises how customers will be affected by the introduction of Service X8:

  • Those who previously used Service 66 will find that Service X8 provides an improvement on the seven journeys a day that previously operated between Congresbury and Nailsea via Portishead. From 3 November 2013 First will operate an hourly extension during Monday to Saturday daytimes on Service X8 providing journeys between Nailsea and Portishead via Portbury.  Customers will also benefit from improved links with other services, such as Services X2, X3 and X6.
  • Those who previously used Service 354 will find that journeys on Service X8 are slightly longer as buses will operate via Backwell rather than Wraxall, however for people travelling between Bristol and Nailsea and around the estate in Nailsea there will be more opportunities to travel.  People in Wraxall will have access to Service X9 (see details below) or services provided by Abus instead.
  • Those who previously used Service 362 to travel between Long Ashton, Backwell, Nailsea & Backwell Railway Station, Trendlewood Way, Pound Lane and Clevedon Road (as far as Stone-edge-Batch) will benefit from the changes being made as the frequency of buses will improve from one an hour to one every 30 minutes.   Customers travelling around Nailsea will find however journey times are extended slightly as the bus will serve the estate. Noting this, some customers may prefer to use Service X6 (Bristol - Clevedon) for a quicker end to end journey. 
  • Those who previously used Service 363 will find that Service X8 is almost a like for like replacement for what they previously had.

Customers are strongly advised to get hold of a new timetable for Service X8 so they can understand what is happening and how the changes may affect them.

NEW Service X9 (Bristol – Nailsea) will begin on 17 November): To minimise the impact following the withdrawal of Service 354, a new X9 service is being created from 17 November. From this date buses will operate every half an hour between 0600 and 0900 hours and 1530 and 1800 hours Monday to Friday and will provide express commuter journeys between Bristol and Nailsea, with vehicles travelling via the Long Ashton bypass and the village of Wraxall.  The introduction of the new service will again increase the overall capacity of bus services in the area, which will particularly benefit people living in Nailsea.

NEW Service A2 ‘Link’(Yatton – Nailsea) – Having worked in partnership with North Somerset Council, First will be operating a new Service A2 from 4 November. The route, which has been designed to enhance links for commuters in North Somerset, will provide much needed links between Yatton, Nailsea & Backwell Railway stations and First’s current commercial network of services.

Specifically Service A2 buses will operate hourly during the peak periods (Monday – Friday) linking Nailsea and Yatton and travelling via Backwell, Brockley Combe, Bristol Airport, Langford, Congresbury and Claverham.  Departure times have been designed to suit shift patterns for workers at Bristol Airport and students studying at Langford College. There will be a limited number of off peak Monday – Friday journeys too.

Most notably, to help establish the route and encourage people to use it, all travel on Service A2 will be free for all passengers up until 27 December.  

Published 16 October 2013