The Service Manager -
Sustainable Transport and Group Manager for Highways and Traffic
introduced themselves and explained that they would present and
then and take questions one section at a time if that was
acceptable to members, which it was.
Transport Officers introduced
the Bus Strategy section via some presentation slides. Some of the key points were as follows
- West of
England (WoE) bus use has continued to increase. Figures show that Bristol is bucking the national
trend on patronage and doing quite well compared to other local
authorities. Student use of buses has
said that it’s difficult to find funding for public transport
compared to funding for motoring.
- First Bus
currently severs services in the city centre to help improve
reliability i.e. so that congestion doesn’t continually
affect the outer areas as much.
- A review of
the network is currently taking place and being carried out by
ARUP. They have already reported that the way things are currently
done in Bristol isn’t as efficient as it could be and
patronage can be increased further.
wouldn’t be until next year when the strategy was ready to be
Questions and comments from
- It was said
that there are still far too many old and polluting buses being
used in some parts of the city.
thought that Old Market Bus Interchange worked well as an
interchange. But it was suggested that
they are future proofed to enable the use of future
agreed that there were still gaps in the current route map; for
example East Bristol still has no direct route to Temple Meads
considered it positive that residents will be consulted about bus
routes but asked whether they shouldn’t also be asked about
additional plans or ideas for the future? Officers said they need to be careful what they
ask for views on because it needs to be considered whether we have
the physical space to do some things i.e. are people willing to
walk further or change buses or give up road space for other things
etc. Members suggested that was why
people ought to be asked those questions.
expressed their continued frustration that First Bus still has a
‘monopoly’ on buses in Bristol and were of the view
that the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) needed to do
more about this.
- It was said
that although WECA isn’t officially the Transport Authority
yet, it is correct in doing this work because apart from the recent
introduction of Metrobus Bristol’s Bus Network had not
changed since the 1990s. It was agreed
that building the orbital routes outward would provide room for
more interchanges. And that
interchanges would not work effectively until all the bus operators
are working under one single ticket system. This in his view really needed to be pushed though
as quick as possible.
Members agreed that more interchanges and cross-boundary tickets
were the way forward as well as the need for more high frequency
Members felt that franchising would solve many problems but that
the Council had already been talking about this for many
Officers took Members through
the relevant slides that had been published and explained that the
‘Bus Deal’ is a partnership arrangement to deliver
significant improvements to services and aims to increase bus
patronage. Some of the key points made
by officers and Members were as follows:
project is also a means of implementing the Bus Strategy objectives
and requires gaining commitments from both the bus operator and
- As part of
the project, officers have identified where buses are delayed the
most and which are the worst performing services across the
city. The Number 2 Service was
identified as being the worst after officers spent time with bus
drivers to detect the frequency and length of delays and causes of
those delays. Through new technology,
signals and priorities will be improved on the routes. The ‘Real Time Information’ (RTI)
system will be linked into other transport systems such as traffic
lights so it can be prioritised to help the service run
faster. Routes are also being looked at
to ensure they are fit for purpose and more buses will be
introduced year on year. There will
also be a process of cleaning the buses up with regards to the
amount pollutants they’re emitting.
suggested this project sounded very similar to the previous Better
Bus Deal project. However it was said
that in this case they now need to be viewed as ‘set of
individual deals or packages over as number of
- A Member
commented that the focus of the programme sounded very
promising. It was his view that in the
past too much focus had been on infrastructure and not enough on
actual passengers’ experiences.
and Integrated Ticketing
Officers took the Members
though the published slides which explained what’s available
now, what the vison is and what plan going forward is. They said they were learning from Transport
for London (TfL) and the timescales for implementation were around
enquired about the Smart Ticketing project plan phasing `and asked
why three out of four phases didn’t show any
timescales. Officers responded that
they needed to see how phase one or two went first.
- A Member
enquired if the project plan was currently BCC’s aspirations
or was the bus company already signed up to this? It was said that
the bus company were engaged on phase one but yes but that was
still work to be done before the phase two could begin.
- A Member
commented that he thought this was all excellent but requested it
be progressed as fast as possible.
Member said they recognised that there are many obstacles to
overcome but that WECA does have a considerable amount of funding
for the regions transport.
said that the road to smart ticketing had been a long and painful
one. What was really needed was a plan
that all the providers signed up to. It
had previously been the Oyster Card but that way of doing things
was ‘old hat’. It was also
highlighted how another local authority had spent £16 million
on this issue with an operator and had ended up walking away
without any results at all.
(West of England Combined Authority) RTI (Real Time
Officers provided Members with
a summary of the current system and how it operates. It was said that Bristol runs the RTI system
on-behalf of WECA now.
It was said that there had
previously been two contractors but in January 2019 a new
contractor was appointed and the system was changed from a radio
system to a sim-card one. There were
some problems initially i.e. once the signal was lost it took
around an hour for it to come back online. However, since March or April it’s been
performing much better and a new system will be installed in
Members were keen understand
and discuss why there were different contractors. Some said they were pleased this was being done as
it is very annoying when buses on route just disappeared of the
It was suggested that the period of time where the
RTI hadn’t been working properly had been very detrimental to
Officers said they’d now
pin-pointed where the main issues were and had hopefully fixed them
now. Officers said they were confident
that passengers would soon start to see improvements.