The Greater Bristol Bus Network is on its way. And it will provide a fast, efficient network of major commuter bus routes into the city centre from in and around Bristol.
But what about Bristol’s wider network of routes which serve local neighbourhoods? Most people would agree that these routes need a radical overhaul. Years of tinkering around the edges has led to a network that is patchy and inconsistent.
Many of the routes haven’t changed for decades, and others have been scrapped for commercial reasons, or for lack of funding, leaving passengers feeling last in line.
The experience of other cities in the UK and Europe shows us how buses in Bristol could be better organised. So now Bristol City Council is looking to work with private sector service providers to overhaul the existing network to make it serve the city better.
As a first step, the council is holding an ASK Bristol discussion to gain an understanding of residents experience with local bus routes, how far they have to walk to their nearest stop and how long they have to wait for a change of bus.
It’s only a ‘public conversation’ at this stage to gather some informal views before we sit down with local bus operators and map out a first draft of a full bus review for consultation.
Throughout 2010, there will be a number of further stages to this and ways to get involved, and we will be sharing more information about this on ASK Bristol.
Councillor Jon Rogers – Executive Member for Transport and Sustainability –
I’m a great believer in early engagement and keeping people informed about fundamental issues like the Bristol’s bus route review. We used this approach on the city centre layout debate on ASK Bristol and we’re asking people once again to join the debate on ASK Bristol about Bristol’s bus routes and network. This will help us decide what the review should cover and how we go about it. By getting involved at this very early stage, it means we can keep you informed as we proceed.
We’re using our new approach to involving citizens and groups with the bus route review which is about sharing early ideas and developing them together. This process will continue through 2010 and changes to bus routes and the network won’t begin until 2011 at the earliest. Use this forum to talk about:
• How should we carry out the Bristol bus route review
• What are the main citywide / strategic issues which should be considered in this review
We’ll be adding an interactive map soon which will enable you to place pointers on a map, comment on individual services and suggest new routes.
By getting involved in this debate or by signing-up for the ASK Bristol newsletter, we’ll keep you informed as the review progresses.
Young people on public transport
The Sustainable Development and Transport Commission asked young people for their views on public transport. Here is the video the commission watched:
- Bus Route Map for Greater Bristol
- Find out more about the Greater Bristol Bus Network
- Find out about plans for bus rapid transit (BRT) in the Greater Bristol area
- Maps and routes of First bus services
Response from the council
On March 9th 2010 ‘Ask Bristol’ commenced a debate on behalf of the then Executive member for Transport and Sustainability (Cllr Jon Rogers) to discuss a proposed review of the bus network.
Responses were received up to October 2010, although the majority of the debate ran during March to May 2010.
The intention had been to inform a full review of the commercial and Council supported network during 2011.
During Summer 2010 it became clear that FIRST would not be in a position to resource such a comprehensive review and the commercial review was reduced to considering minor changes to improve the existing network (for example around the Hengrove area). There was also limited interest in a major review from the neighbouring authorities.
The change in government and emphasis on cuts in budgets has also had a significant impact on the ability to consider a detailed review of the network.
However, this initial debate has helped to inform the process of preparing new Contracts for the bus services supported by the Council (as considered by the more recent Ask Bristol conversation on “Supported Transport Services” which closed on May 11th 2011). These have included:
- Some assessment of the transport models to recognise where there may be significant numbers of car journeys and no direct competition from an existing bus route to assess whether introducing a bus service could be viable.
- Consideration of the potential patronage and viability of a new or revised bus route to serve the Crews Hole area of East Bristol.
- Consideration of splitting existing supported orbital services and adjusting their routes and frequencies to improve overall use, clarity and reliability.
- The procurement of services supported by the Council at the same time to make it possible to package the services, attract other companies into the market and to reduce the impact of the expected significant increase in costs.
The results of this further consultation and the procurement of supported services are covered in a report and decisions at cabinet on 9th June 2011.
Other comments associated with the development of SMART/through ticketing, major transport schemes, bus lanes and enforcement, parking controls and other measures have been noted as part of the ongoing development work in these areas.