From November 5th, Stockwood's other bus route into town will be pared right down. Abus is cutting the daytime frequency of its 57 service, via Bath Road. Peak services will remain, but after that it will be every hour at best, with a much longer gap in inward journeys during the afternoon. The new timetable is here.
It's bad news for Stockwood, because for years Abus have offered a far cheaper trip into town than the exorbitant single fares on First's 54 service, and the only short access to the eastbound bus corridor along the Bath Road, toward Keynsham and Bath.
One contributory factor must be the national concessionary fare pass. For pass holders, fare differentials are not an issue, so First's more frequent buses have been able to draw more custom than they deserve, especially in the off-peak hours.
For those travellers who do have to pay, First have the economies of scale that allow them to offer more attractive deals like the First Day tickets. They've also looked after their own monopoly interests by resisting, for years, any attempts to launch similar city-wide tickets that are valid on services operated by other companies. And, in a mini 'bus war' when Abus were running the 57 service on Saturdays, First ran so many buses on the alternative 54 route that the smaller Abus couldn't command the passenger share to keep their buses running.
Thank you, Mrs Thatcher – and all the administrations of every colour that have followed in your footsteps.