First is making a number of changes to its Bristol bus network from April. One of the main factors behind the change is the opening of Southmead Hospital and the transfer of the majority of NHS services to that site from Frenchay Hospital. Some of the alterations also respond to a desire to better match resources against the level of demand for services and the need to address some concerns the company has regarding the punctuality and reliability of buses. Some brand new routes are being introduced, while in some cases other old routes, which were previously operated by other operators under contract to local authorities, are being taken on commercially by First, with changes made to their service numbers. The changes include more frequent services between Bristol and Yate, with up to five buses per hour, as well as new direct links between Bristol city centre, Pucklechurch and Westerleigh, and between Keynsham and Southmead Hospital. More of the buses travelling in similar directions will have similar, sequential numbers to help passengers remember the numbers of the routes they want to use.
Commercial Manager, First West of England, Simon Ford, said, ‘What’s happening is significant and will benefit a great many people, not least providing new links to Southmead Hospital. Furthermore the combination of the new Services 46, X46, 47, X47 and X49 will mean that from 13 April people wishing to travel between Yate and Bristol will have access to up to five buses per hour (Monday – Saturday daytimes).’