Quicker buses to centre– but 462 route cut back

A REVAMP to the main bus services linking Downend and Staple Hill to Bristol city centre will make some journeys up to 12 minutes faster, says operator First.

The new one-way 48x and 49x services heading into the city will bypass Easton and Old Market, travelling on the M32 between Eastville and Broadmead.

But a commuter service which links Mangotsfield and Bromley Heath to the city centre is being cut, leaving some passengers looking for alternative transport.

First, the city’s main operator, will shake up the 48 service, which links Downend to the centre, and the 49 serving Staple Hill, from April 7.

From 6am to 6.30pm each weekday and from 10am to 6pm on Saturdays, roughly every other 48 and 49 will be a 48x or 49x, leaving the regular route at the junction of Fishponds Road and Muller Road to head for the motorway.

All 48x and 49x services will start at Emersons Green. During their hours of operation the other 48 and 49 services will start at the Horseshoe pub and Hill House Road, next to Page Park, respectively.

Outside of those hours, 48s and 49s will start and finish at Emersons Green, except between 11.30pm and 4am.

The 48x and 49x will not run on Sundays, when all services will go through Easton.

The 49x will replace the twice-daily X49 from Hill House Road, which is being discontinued.

First is also reinstating buses from the centre to Oldbury Court with a 47 service – but this will not go on to link Oldbury Court to Downend, as the previous 47 and 5 did.

First says the direct 48x and 49x buses will “reduce journey times by up to 12 minutes”.

However commuters who rely on Stagecoach’s 462 service are facing cutbacks.

The route from Emersons Green to the city centre, which goes via Cossham Street, Blackhorse Lane, Four Acre Road and Quakers Road before heading to the ring road and M32, will have morning services cut from four to three between 6.05am and 6.55am, and evening return journeys cut from four to just two, at 4.05pm and 6.25pm.

Stagecoach West interim managing director Elisabeth Tasker said the 462 operated on an entirely commercial basis and the journeys being cut were “loss-making”.

She said: “Unfortunately, usage on this service is very low, which means the revenue from this service does not cover our operating costs.”

Bromley Heath commuter Claire Lewis, who relies on the 462 to travel to and from her job at a city centre school, says buses have been “really full up – very busy” in recent months.

Claire will now face a 20-minute walk to and from the Hambrook metrobus stop, as the 462 will no longer get her home from work to her children’s childcare provider in time.

She said: “I think the 462 is the only service that still goes through Bromley Heath.

“I can walk to Hambrook but the extra time affects family life.”