The BristolRider. A bit late, but it's arrived...
The AvonRider, about which I wrote last September, has just been joined by the BristolRider, a multi-operator ticket that covers the built-up area of Bristol plus Long Ashton and Keynsham.
It costs £4.50, only 50p more than the equivalent First Day ticket (though ominously that's described as an introductory price). Better still, both AvonRider and Bristol Rider now include Bristol City Council's fully contracted services, 501 to 515, and the Park & Rides. At last the city and the operators have agreed on something!
It means, say, that a 515 journey from here in Stockwood to the new Hengrove Hospital can continue in to town on one of the First routes – and return on Abus's 57, all on the one ticket.
The Hengrove Bus Stop Gamble
If you're lucky enough to live round Fortfield Road, and fancy a bus trip into town, there's a choice of two buses, the 51 or the 20. Their routes share the stretch between Oatlands Avenue and Wharnecliffe Gardens, so that's the place to be sure of getting whichever one comes along first. Except for one thing – there's no bus stop. Go south, beyond the 51 route, and you can get the 20. Go north, off the 20 route, and you'll get the next 51. Only the fleetest of foot stand an above average chance of getting whichever comes first - by scanning for approaching buses from the Fortfield/Wharncliffe junction and racing for the relevant stop.
My comprehensive user survey found 100% of the sample (that's me, once, and a student, daily) to be seriously inconvenienced by this layout.
Luckily, someone's alerted the Neighbourhood Partnership to it. Now it seems that common sense might provide a shared bus stop along the shared Wharnecliffe Gardens – Oatlands Avenue stretch, thanks to a windfall of cash from development around Loxton Square. Watch that space.
How Long Blues
For passengers heading back from Temple Meads to Knowle, Filwood, Hengrove, Whitchurch, or Stockwood, or further down the A37 into Somerset, the starting point is the bus stop on Temple Gate beside the Old Station.
This, according to the transport authorities, is the beginning of Showcase Route 6; part of the Greater Bristol Bus Network that will transform the quality of public transport in this city.
Passengers in Belluton or Temple Cloud will know of the benefits this brings – proper bus stops with real time information displays that tell you if you've got time for a smoke, or to nip behind a hedge for a call of nature, before the bus comes.
No such luxury here at Temple Meads, which must host more waiting passengers than any other stop on this 'showcase' corridor. For some reason, the upgrade promised by the Cabinet's decision in December 2009, was never implemented here.
Is it too late to spend a couple of £K to give hundreds of passengers a day the convenience of knowing when the bus is really coming?