First West of England has confirmed the full details of the upcoming changes to its University of Bath services, following an announcement in October that it would be reverting to the previous route.
The changes follow extensive consultation with the University of Bath and B&NES, and representations from local members of the public.
From Sunday 6th January 2019, the main U1 service will revert to operating through the city centre and will serve Dorchester Street, Grand Parade and North Parade.
To take account of the reconstruction works at Bath Abbey, buses will use a stop in Grand Parade, opposite the entrance to The Market before continuing to North Parade Bridge.
The U1 service will continue to operate 24/7 during term times, and at peak times (approximately 0700-1000 and 1500-1900), the service will be split up to ensure that enough seats are available from every stop.
The pattern will return to the way it ran last year, with the U1X operating direct from Lower Oldfield Park via Rossiter Road towards the University on Mondays to Fridays during term time.
The reversion to running through the city centre means that the stops in Rossiter Road and Pulteney Road (South) will only be served at peak times – by the U1X service, which unlike last year will also run in the afternoon.
Otherwise there are no changes to the Service U1 frequency and hours of operation. As a result of the revised route of the U1 service, service 10 is no longer required and will be withdrawn after operation on 4th January.
To support the U1, peak time journeys from Lower Oldfield Park will operate as service U1X direct to and from the University of Bath via Lower Bristol Road, Rossiter Road, Pulteney Road (South) and Bathwick Hill, at frequent intervals.
The service will operate at peak times (approximately 0700-1000 and 1500-1900) during term time only.
On other days service U1 journeys will operate to and from Lower Oldfield Park at these times.
Journeys on Service U1X will generally be operated by high capacity articulated buses and provide sufficient capacity for customers boarding in Lower Oldfield Park.
As the U1 will be starting from Green Park during the hours that the U1X is operating, this is expected to provide sufficient capacity for customers boarding in the city centre.
Additional Service U1 vehicles will also commence from other stops in the city centre and Bathwick Hill.
Customers travelling between Lower Oldfield Park and the city centre at peak times Monday to Friday during term time can use Bath City service 1.
Based on experience since the start of the new academic year, there will also be positive changes to the timetable for the U2 service between the University of Bath and Twerton.
The frequency of buses will be increased to every 10 minutes from Monday to Friday during University term time, which will provide additional capacity at the times when it is most needed.
There will also be some of operational changes to the U2 to improve the reliability and punctuality of the service. The U2 route is unaffected by these changes.
In order to cater better for the needs of school children along the U2 route, First West of England has announced the introduction of a new service for Ralph Allen School.
Service R2 will be introduced on school days to provide a dedicated service from Southdown and Whiteway to Ralph Allen School.
There will be one morning journey leaving Southdown at 0733 and arriving at Ralph Allen School at 0825, and one afternoon journey leaving Ralph Allen School at 1525. Normal fares will apply on these journeys.
Commenting on the changes, First West of England Managing Director James Freeman said: “Our team in Bath has been working tirelessly to operate our University of Bath services in difficult circumstances since the start of the academic year, and I would like to thank them for their commitment and professionalism.
“We have brought in significant extra resources to bring about a huge improvement in our University of Bath services since the difficult start to the year, and these January changes are the culmination of all that we have learned during that time.
“We are confident that they will result in a much-improved picture for our customers.”