All change on the buses once more

ANOTHER shake-up of bus routes for the Emersons Green area is taking place this month.

Operator First is axing the 47 route to Yate just six months after it was introduced – ending the direct bus connection between Pucklechurch and Bristol.

The company is also changing the 48 and 49 services so that only half of them will run to and from Emersons Green – the others will terminate in Downend and Staple Hill respectively.

An increase in the overall numbers of 48 and 49 services running means that a total of four per hour will still serve Emersons Green from Monday to Saturday, with two an hour on Sunday.

But the 49 will no longer go to Lyde Green – the only bus service to the estate will be the metrobus m3, which will run approximately every 20 minutes during the day.

Operator First and Metro Mayor Dan Norris say more than 1,600 hours of bus journeys in Bristol every week, which were cut in November due to driver shortages, are being reinstated under the new timetables from April 2, as a result of a £7 million investment under the West of England Combined Authority’s Bus Service Improvement Plan.

First says it is axing the 47, less than six months after it was introduced, due to “low passenger numbers”.

A new WECA-subsidised hourly service, the 525, will be operated by Stagecoach between Emersons Green, Pucklechurch, Westerleigh and Yate. Passengers from Pucklechurch who want to go on towards Bristol will have to change on to a 48, 49 or m3 at Emersons Green.

The 525 will use the main A4174 and B4465 between Emersons Green and Pucklechurch, which means it bypasses Shortwood village, whose residents are being advised to book journeys using the new WESTlink dial-a-ride service (see below).

First says destination displays on 48 and 49 services will indicate which buses will terminate in Emersons Green but numbers will not be adjusted.

First says it is extending its use of new artificial intelligence scheduling software to improve punctuality.

Managing director Doug Claringbold said: “These new timetables will significantly increase the service we offer our customers and I’m confident that our investment in new technology will also continue to improve punctuality.

“We will also be reinstating journeys in Bristol that we had to temporarily suspend last year, as we are starting to see the effect of our major driver recruitment and retention campaign.”

Metro Mayor Dan Norris added: “Many more people will now have the chance to catch more frequent buses.”

The 967 Westerleigh to Chipping Sodbury and Yate service, used by children attending Yate and Sodbury schools, has been given funding until the end of the school year.