Bath’s bus network is being overhauled from 4th September in a bid to make travel in the city simpler, easier and more responsive to customer demand.
All of the existing routes will be affected, with quite a few re-numbered and some routes changed.
The current services 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 15 and 16 will be replaced by new routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, and distinct university services numbered U1, U2, U5 and U6.
The intention is to make buses in the city easier for people to use. The latest changes follow on from increases in some of the city’s services in April and a radical overhaul of the fares in 2014.
Earlier this year, First Bath increased the frequency of buses on a number of key routes (Services 5 and 13 and also service 10 on Sundays) responding to increasing demand for its services.
Andrew Sherrington, General Manager for First Bath, Wells and Weston-super-Mare, explained: “The network of city services isn’t radically changed but there are some route alterations and, most noticeably, we are renumbering almost all of the routes, so that they fit into a logical sequence.
“While perhaps a bit unsettling for some at first this will make our route numbers easy to remember, with the university services easy to identify as they’ll have a prefix ‘U’ before the service number.
“We’ll be doing as much as we can to support people through these changes, running roadshows in key locations in the coming weeks, and of course updating all of the displays in Bath Bus Station so people know what is happening and why.
“These changes are about making our services easier to understand and to use. They are phase two in a series of plans to make travel by bus in Bath much simpler.
“Phase one was about increasing the frequency of buses on key routes, whereas phase three, when put in place, will be about taking things to the next level once again. We can’t reveal the details of those plans just yet, but we are putting a lot of effort into making sure the city has the bus service it deserves.”
Specific details of all the routes changing can be found below. They will all change on Sunday 4th September.
New individual route maps and timetables will be available in advance of this – online at www.firstgroup.com/bath by 8th August and from travel shops by 22nd August.
A new map showing the extend of the city network will also be available from the same dates.
Specific changes from 4th September:
New Service 1 (Bus Station to Southdown): Service 1 will be the new number for what was Service 10. The route and timetable will remain the same as it is at present.
New Service 2 (City Centre to Combe Down): Following what was the route of Service 1 between the city centre and Combe Down, Service 2 will run between Dorchester Street (the stop outside the bus station), Widcombe and Combe Down. Buses will run every half an hour Monday to Sunday throughout most of the day (buses will be hourly after 2030 hours Monday to Saturday, while the last bus on Sundays and Public Holidays will be at 1830 hours).
The timetable has been designed as far as possible to provide connections with Great Western Railway journeys to and from London Paddington.
New Service 3 (Foxhill to Bathford): Service 3 will be the new number for what was Service 13. The route and timetable will remain the same as it is at present.
New Service 4 (Weston to Odd Down): Service 4 will be the new number for what is currently Service 14. The route will change slightly, as will the timetable. Specifically, following complaints about too many buses traversing the estate, Service 4 buses will no longer divert via Banwell Road or Cranmore Place in Wansdyke, but instead they will stop on nearby Wellsway.
Passengers wishing to travel to and from Banwell Road or Cranmore Place will be able to use Service 179 instead, as this will divert through the estate in both directions. The 179 is also being revised slightly from the same date.
The timetable for the new Service 4 differs from that of Service 14; While buses will continue to operate every 10 minutes Monday to Friday daytime, on Saturdays they will run between every 12 and 15 minutes (depending on the time of day). Monday to Saturday evening services are also being revamped: between Weston and the city centre buses will run every 20 minutes, and every half an hour between the city centre and Odd Down.
Passengers wishing to travel from Odd Down and Weston (or vice versa) in the evening will need to check the timetable, as while some journeys will run through, a number will terminate in the city centre requiring people to change buses to complete their journeys. The last bus from centre will be at 2340 hours to Weston, and 2335 hours to Odd Down.
New Service 5 (Bus Station to Whiteway): The new Service 5 is exactly as the existing Service 5; the route and timetable will remain as they are now.
New Service 6 (Bus Station to Fairfield Park): From 4th September, Service 6 will work more independently of Service 7, providing journeys to and from Fairfield Park. Changes between the two services will be possible though, as both routes will serve Camden Road, which will have a significantly improved frequency of service.
This alteration is necessary as First Bath needs to reduce the number of vehicles operating on the route by one. This follows the withdrawal of financial support for the service by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
In making changes to this service First Bath has considered the concern that a previous change to Services 6 and 7 caused in 2010. Interchanges between the two routes will be possible in Camden Road. The latter will also see improved frequencies (buses every 15 minutes along Camden Road).
London Road, which is prone to heavy congestion, will no longer be served, although of course the new Service 3 operates every 12 minutes along the length of London Road.
Overall Service 6 buses will run every half an hour Monday to Saturday daytime. Evening facilities to Larkhall are provided by service 6A (see below).
Service 6A (Bus Station to Larkhall / Fairfield Park): A new Service 6A (which will be integrated into the timetable of Service 6) will provide journeys during the early mornings, on Monday to Saturday evenings and on Sundays and Public Holidays only.
These buses will link Larkhall and Fairfield Park with the bus station. They will run hourly, using Camden Road to access the city centre.
Service 6A will also interwork with Service 2 buses for journeys operating after 2000 hours on Monday to Saturdays evenings. This means it will be possible to travel after this time from Larkhall / Fairfield Park to and from Combe Down without changing buses.
These evening journeys have been provided with financial support from the local authority.
New Service 7 (Bus Station to Larkhall): From 4th September, Service 7 will work more independently of Service 6, providing journeys to and from Larkhall. Changes between the two services will be possible though, as both routes will serve Camden Road, which will have a significantly improved frequency of service.
This alteration is necessary as First Bath needs to reduce the number of vehicles operating on the route by one. This follows the withdrawal of financial support for the service by the local authority.
In making changes to this service First Bath has considered the concern that a previous change to Services 6 and 7 caused in 2010. Interchanges between the two routes will be possible in Camden Road. The latter will also see improved frequencies (buses every 15 minutes along Camden Road). London Road, which is prone to heavy congestion, will no longer be served, although of course the new Service 3 operates every 12 minutes along the length of London Road.
Overall Service 7 buses will run every half an hour Monday to Saturday daytime. Evening facilities to Fairfield Park are provided by service 6A (see above).
New Service 8 (Kingsway to Upper Weston): Service 8 will provide journeys between Kingway and Upper Weston taking parts of what was Service 4 and Service 1 to form the new route. Buses will run every half an hour Monday to Saturday daytime and every 45 minutes on Sundays and Public Holidays.
There will also be a number of journeys during the evening, provided with financial support from the local authority. Customers are advised to check the new timetable for specific details.
Service U1 (Lower Oldfield Park to University of Bath): While the main route between the University of Bath and the city centre (Dorchester Street) will remain the same, the route is being adjusted in Oldfield Park.
Specifically, because brand new double deck buses will mostly be used from September, there is a need to alter the route to avoid a low bridge. From September buses will operate via Dorchester Street, Churchill Bridge, Wells Road, Upper Oldfield Park, Lower Oldfield Park, Brougham Hayes, Pine Way and Midland Road before re-joining the current route en route to the university.
The route change means buses will serve stops on the other side of the road around Oldfield Park, but the journey will be more direct and reliable in consequence, as vehicles are less likely to be caught up in city centre congestion.
New Service U2 (Lower Oldfield Park to University of Bath): Service U2 is a brand new route designed to enhance links between the city centre and the University of Bath. It will operate every 20 minutes Monday to Friday daytime during term time only, running between the University of Bath, Combe Down, Southdown, Oldfield Park and the city centre.
As well as boosting capacity to and from Oldfield Park and the city centre, Service U2 will also provide a new direct link to and from Southdown. This service will begin operating from 26 September (coinciding with the start of the academic year).
New Service U5 (City Centre to Bath Spa University): Service U5 is the new number for what was Service 15. While the route remains the same, the timetable is being altered, to double the Sunday and Public Holiday daytime frequency of buses. From September 24 these buses will run every half an hour on these days (compared to hourly at present).
New Service U6 (Twerton Mill to Bath Spa University): Service U6 is the new number for what was Service 16. The route will remain the same but the timetable is being adjusted. Buses, operating Monday – Friday daytimes term time only, will run every 30 minutes.
Specifically, in response to requests from students there will be additional evening departures from Bath Spa University at 1740, 1810 and 1840 hours. This should directly benefit students staying in accommodation at Twerton Mill.