Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The Bath Road goes 'Showcase'

Looks like the Bath Road buses are next to become 'Showcase' quality. Well, some of them. The plans are out now, and there's an 'informal public consultation' - whatever that is - until August 14th. On Tuesdays (10 till 4), Thursdays (10 till 8) and Saturdays (10 till 2) up to August 1st you can see the plans at Unit 9 on Brislington Hill (opposite the White Hart). Or you can see the detailed leaflet here, without leaving your PC, and send comments from this council website page

The cynic in me wonders whether these improvements will provide a bus service comparable in speed and reliability with those when I were a lad. After all, then there were lots of bus conductors and not nearly so much traffic cluttering the roads - so buses could move quicker and didn't have to stand still while you paid your fare.

There are certainly good things about the showcase plans. Better bus lanes, new pavements where none exist now (notably alongside the Arnos Vale cemeteries), more bike segregation. Real time information at bus stops. Bus stops with litter bins!

Some less promising things, too. Beyond the city boundary, cycling looks as suicidal as ever on the approach to Hicks Gate. Across from the Paintworks, there's one of those confidence-sapping cycle lanes outside a row of parked cars, any one of which might suddenly open an off-side door; there's a marked lack of bus stops from Temple Meads to beyond Totterdown bridge; and, all along, bus stops seemingly placed to maximise walking distance from homes reached through the side streets.

And questions, questions, questions. Will the real time information extend to all the routes along the Bath Road? There's the ABus 57 service, for instance, serving us here in Stockwood. First's 'country' buses, including the core X39 express route to Bath, haven't so far been brought in to the realtime system - will they be now? Same goes for the 349 Keynsham service, shared between First and ABus.

Now, if these buses are to be equipped to join the 'realtime' system, maybe we're actually making progress. But if not, all that fancy gear is only going to tell us when the next 1 or 36 is coming along. Hardly worth the effort.

I'll add comments below if and when I learn more


Pete Goodwin said...

The expectation is that real-time info will be restricted to the Park and Ride, the 'city' routes 1 and 36, and the Bath Express X39. Perhaps also the 339 (the X39 that doesn't bypass Keynsham).

However, Alan Peters of ABus does see his company using realtime, so there's hope yet. It would be daft to waste the system by restricting it to a few services.

Bigwok said...

Do you know if the real time bus stops will be provided on the rest of the No1 route up sandy park/allison Road?

Pete Goodwin said...

I'll be pleasantly surprised - startled, more like - if that happens! But if you can't get to the project office and put the question direct, they do have an e-mail address: gbbn.bathrd (at)

I understand that around 2/3 of the 'Showcase' bus stops will get realtime displays, with a bias toward the better-used inbound stops. It would certainly make sense to put them on the best-used Broomfield - Sandy Park stops too, but I doubt they're looking outside the "Showcase" alignment.

Bigwok said...

Thanks Pete, will let you know when I find out.