New metrobus service provides vital link for communities across Bristol and South Gloucestershire
The m1 metrobus service - the third and longest metrobus route, connecting south Bristol, Bedminster, the city centre, UWE, Bradley Stoke and Cribbs Causeway – will be carrying passengers from today (Sunday 6 Jan 2019).
Bristol Community Transport, who are operating the m1 service under contract to First West of England, have invested in a fleet of new buses running on bio gas generated from food and farm waste and sewage and created up to 60 new driver and support positions at their Bedminster depot. This represents the first major investment in biogas buses in the area and puts the West of England at the forefront of low emission bus operations powered by alternative sources.
To reflect the importance of the new service in supporting local communities, artwork featuring community groups and organisations based on the route will feature on the inside rear of the vehicles. These will range from youth organisations such as Scouts, Army Cadets and theatre groups to services for the elderly and environmental charities, as well as landmark independent businesses such as Mark’s Bread in Bedminster and the Bristol Cider Shop in Wapping Wharf.
Eight of the new buses are already liveried and will be on the road on launch day. The remaining 13 murals will be unveiled in the next few weeks. Eight of the 21 groups featured are members of Bristol Community Transport, using their community minibuses. These groups will directly benefit from the operation of metrobus as BCT will be using the proceeds to support their community transport services in the city.
The launch of m1 follows the successful introduction of routes m3 and m2 that were launched in May and September last year, serving Emersons Green and Lyde Green Park and Ride to the city centre and Long Ashton Park and Ride to the city centre respectively. Together these routes have already carried over 600,000 customers.
Travel will be free all day on Sunday 6th January. Subsequently, tickets will be available via the special iPoint machines that have already started appearing along the m1 route. As well as providing real-time information, they form an integral part of metrobus’ ‘buy before you board’ strategy, enabling customers to buy tickets using contactless or chip & pin bank cards. Customers can also buy tickets from First’s mTicket app, and registered Travelwest travelcard users can buy tickets from the Travelwest website and load them onto their travelcard at an iPoint before using it on the bus. Passengers without a contactless or chip & pin bank card can buy tickets or top up their travelcards at PayZone or PayPoint stores. First’s standard range of tickets for their Bristol and West of England fare zones, including concessionary cards, are also valid on all metrobus services.
The m1 metrobus route will use the new infrastructure that has been provided by Bristol and South Gloucester Councils, assisted by the Department for Transport. This includes new bus stops along the length of the route from South Bristol, in the Bradley Stoke area up to Aztec West and Cribbs Causeway, the new Stoke Gifford Transport Link, new bus lanes – for example on the M32, Bradley Stoke Way and Hartcliffe Way, and the bus only junction on the M32.
James Freeman, Managing Director of m1 operator First Bus West of England said: “The vehicles and drivers that BCT are committing to the new m1 metrobus are providing a vital service supporting local communities. We wanted to reflect this on the new buses by showcasing just a few of the many organisations and groups along our route that contribute so much to making the community a more inclusive place to live and work.
"m3 and m2 have proved very popular and feedback is that they are getting people to where they need to be faster and more smoothly. Anything we can do to cut through congestion is good for our customers, our drivers and the whole city. We believe this third and final route of the first phase of metrobus will be equally successful and contribute to a longer-term transport strategy that will alleviate the pressure facing our roads.”
Jimmy Sommerville, Operations Manager at Bristol Community Transport, said: “We’re all really excited about the m1. It’s a great opportunity to serve the communities of Bristol and South Gloucestershire, helping people to get out of their cars and onto public transport.”
Cllr Colin Hunt, South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet Member for Transport, added: “We are all looking forward to the start of the m1, a service which will provide a new choice for passengers.
“Making use of the wealth of infrastructure that has recently been built, the m1 will connect south Bristol, the city centre, UWE and all the way to Cribbs Causeway.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Bristol Community Transport is part of a world-leading transport social enterprise company and we are delighted to have them as one of our metrobus operators. They’re making a significant investment and commitment to Bristol that will see benefits here for many years to come. Metrobus has brought major changes to our transport network in the Bristol region and I’m pleased to see people are already experiencing some of the benefits brought by new services and infrastructure.
“We need to do a lot more to deliver further change that will support inclusive economic growth and give people a real alternative when it comes to travel. The launch of the m1 today marks another step in the right direction and I’m confident we can build on this with our bus deal and mass transit plans, to achieve real transformation in people flow across the city region.”
For more information and service enquiries, visit www.metrobusbristol.co.uk
To purchase travel cards, visit buytickets.travelwest.info
Note to Editors:
- metrobus fares are simple and all tickets are buy before you board for faster journeys. Single trips are £2.00 (£2.07 for an individual ticket via the First mTicket app) and a day ticket allowing unlimited travel is just £4. According to a survey by TAS partnership published in February 2018, comparing 1,000 typical bus fares across the country, 98% of fares were higher than the ‘off-bus’ fares First charges to travel on its Bristol Zone services, including metrobus. Two-thirds of the UK pays more for day tickets than the £4.00 First charges for adult day tickets in Bristol.
- Each metrobus stop along the m1 route will have an iPoint. By Sunday 6 January the majority of metrobus stops will have an iPoint installed, and by the end of the month all metrobus stops will have an iPoint installed and working.
- If for whatever reason an iPoint is not present or operational, drivers will temporarily accept contactless payment on the bus at this stop until the iPoint is operational.
- The metrobus infrastructure that includes 94 new bus stops, 282 new cycle stands, over 10km of new cycle routes, over 6km of new road space, 3 new railway bridges, 8 new, 2 replaced, 1 refurbished bridge over roads and streams, mammal underpasses, bat boxes and bird nesting boxes was funded by the Department for Transport, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils.
- Bristol Community Transport are investing £7 million in 21 biogas buses built largely in Britain by Scania and ADL and installing the necessary refuelling facilities. Grant aid of £1.6m has been received from the Department for Transport under the Low Emission Bus Scheme towards the overall investment. This is the first part of a much bigger scheme awarded by the DfT in 2017 to provide biogas buses in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
For more information:
Julia Dean, West of England Councils metrobus: 0117 428 6215
First West of England Press Office: 0800 1303403