Posts Tagged ‘First Bus’

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Bristol “should have free loop bus” in centre

June 29, 2009

The councillor in charge of Bristol’s transport system says we need to be “more ambitious” in improving the city’s transport system and should not rest on “old prejudices” about the way things work.

Jon Rogers is proposing to change the way buses run in the city, so that all routes go in to the centre, terminate there and turn back on themselves, returning via the same route.

He said: “We could have buses coming in to the centre and then going back out on the same route.

“You might have green buses coming down Whiteladies Rd, you might have red buses coming in and out on the Gloucester Rd and so on.

“Other cities do it and Bristol should be raising its sights and setting our ideas higher than we currently do.

“We tend to moan about our buses and moan about our buses. We should be looking for some solutions rather than focussing on the problems.”

This is different from the current system in which all buses go to the centre, but many routes then continue after a break and often a change of driver.

To make it work, he wants to see a free shuttle bus running in a loop between Cabot Circus and Queen Square to help people switch buses.

Jon Rogers proposes the free bus could be paid for by the council, or by local businesses who would benefit from shoppers being able to get around the centre more easily.

He also acknowleded the city’s bus system would remain poor while fares remained high. But he said the city faced difficulties reducing fares because of obscure government subsidy rules.

He said: “I’m looking for some innovative ideas in how we can reduce costs for the average passenger not just the concessionary passenger.

“My firm belief is that if off-peak fares were lower the buses would be fuller. If the buses were fuller there would be more profit for the bus companies but also a better service for the passengers.

Martin Jones interviews Jon Rogers

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Bristol buses – quality reporting?

April 30, 2009

I was quite surprised by the way the local media did (or didn’t) report a very significant change to the way Bristol’s buses operate.

I reported for Original on the fact that by introducing what’s known as a ‘Quality Contract’ between itself and First, the city council could start to gain control over the city’s bus operator.

This would be a small step towards the kind of bus service many Bristolians would like to see in Bristol, but I believe it would be highly significant and deeply symbolic of the city’s direction of travel (if you’ll pardon the pun).

So I was quite surprised by the fact that both the BBC and the Evening Post (often perceived to be anti-First) didn’t really mention this significant development in their reports.

Both focussed on the fact Bristol could get a ‘Brunel Card’, a kind of Oyster card allowing travel on different types of transport around Bristol. This is certainly newsworthy, but I was surprised that both saw it as the main point of their story.

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Bristol Councillors Could Get Power To Set City Bus Fares

April 30, 2009

Bristol’s main bus operator, First, could be forced to cap bus fares and keep to new minimum standards of service.

Councillors in Bristol will this afternoon vote on whether to introduce new powers, known as ‘quality contracts’. They would – if introduced – allow councillors to set bus fares, specify the frequency of bus services, and dictate the types of buses used.

At present, the council has little control over bus operators in the city, who operate as private companies. First has regularly attracted criticism from Bristolians who complain about infrequent services and high fares.

Councils such as Bristol have been given the ability to introduce quality contracts by the Transport Act 2008.

The proposals could also see a new type of travel ticket introduced. Known as the ‘Brunel Card’, it would be valid on different types of public transport, as London’s Oyster card is.

The idea has been put forward by Labour councillor Mark Bradshaw, formerly in charge of transport policy at the council.

He told Original: “Where the council gets directly involved in negotiating things like timetables and sevices, you see an improvement. These contracts would give the council a seat at the table. Where people don’t perform well, the council can say “What’s going on here?”

“At the moment, when it comes to buses the council has very little say. Even though most people think the council has some kind of franchise arrangement, that is not the case at all.”

My interview with Mark Bradshaw:

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Aussie visitor shocked by rude Bristol bus driver

February 4, 2009

An Australian visitor to Bristol says she’s “shocked” at the rudeness of the city’s bus drivers after a First driver refused to help her find her stop.

Amy Wilshire had only been in the UK two days when she tried to get a bus from Brentry Hill to the Centre on Monday.

She told us: “I was trying to get to the centre, to St Augustine’s. But having been in the city only two days I had no idea where I was going.

“I asked the driver once I had bought my ticket if he could tell me where the stop was. But he simply laughed at me and said no. I thought he was joking at first but it turned out he was serious.”

Amy was helped by a female passenger who took pity on her and showed her where to get off the bus. But she says it was not the kind of welcome she was expecting.

Amy said: “I was really taken aback. I was very shocked that someone wouldn’t take five seconds to help someone else out who was new to the country.”

First told us that drivers were not required to help able-bodied passengers find stops. But a spokeswoman said: “We’d hope that staff would do what they could to be helpful to passengers where they can.”

She added: “”We were sorry to hear this visitor to Bristol was disappointed by the service she received. If she would like to contact us directly with further details we would be happy to look into it.”

Below: Martin Jones’ report on the story

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