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Concerns are raised over changes to bus routes and timetables

By Somerset Guardian  |  Posted: November 10, 2012

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Concerns have been voiced about changes to routes and timetables for bus services.

Public transport provider First has reviewed bus services in and around Bath and made changes to its network on Sunday.

It made alterations to 12 routes including Service 179 from Bath to Midsomer Norton, Service 173 from Bath to Wells and Service 178 from Bath to Bristol.

First said the changes are designed to improve the punctuality and reliability of services, and give customers additional opportunities to travel.

Residents living in the Brittens Hill and Ham Lane area of Paulton have voiced concerns about the changes, which now sees the 178 service no longer stopping close to them as it is re-routed via the High Street.

Councillor Liz Hardman (Lab, Paulton), alongside fellow Bath and North East Somerset Council ward representative councillor John Bull, has contacted First Bus objecting to the route change in the hope of convincing the company to reconsider including the area on the route.

Mrs Hardman said: "Many people in the Brittens Hill and Ham Lane area of Paulton will be alarmed to hear that the Bristol 178 bus will no longer call at stops close to them but will be routed via the High Street. This will involve them in a long walk to the nearest stop.

"The reason, apparently, is that this service will now call at Timsbury and this additional distance will extend the route above 50km, at which point First Bus need to comply with extra regulations on driver hours.

"Since the only reason for the change seems to be to shorten the route to avoid this happening we have written to First Bus to object to the change of route and ask them to reconsider it."

Simon Ford, regional network manager for First, said: "We believe that the changes will have a positive effect on bus users in the region, providing more journey opportunities in many places.

"We would strongly urge customers to check the new timetables to ensure that they understand the changes that are being made and how this may impact on them as individuals."

New timetables for the affected services can be viewed online and downloaded from www.firstgroup.com.

Hard copy timetables are available to pick up from Travel Shops.

Anyone wanting independent help or advice planning journeys by bus can contact Traveline by calling 0871 200 2233 or visiting www.traveline sw.com.

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  • bristolrocks  |  November 12 2012, 12:17PM

    It may be worth people who are interested in the changes to Services 178 and 179 to read the full press release, issued by First, regarding the alterations. This release can be found on First's website (firstgroup.com/bath) under news and initiatives. Here's a few paragraphs relating to these two services though: Service 178 (Bath - Bristol): A number of changes are being made to this service, affecting both its route and timetable. Specifically the route is being altered in three places: between High Littleton and Farnborough, in Paulton and in Bristol City Centre. From 4 November buses between High Littleton and Farnborough buses will operate via Hayeswood Road and Bloomfield Road rather than via the A39, The Street and The Mead. This change gives people in Timsbury access to buses running hourly to and from Bristol. The change means that customers in Farnborough will need to use stops at the Butchers Arms instead of along The Street and The Mead. In Paulton the route is being revised so that buses will operate via High Street and The Pithay instead of via Ham Lane, Brittens Hill and Bath Road. This change is being made to both reduce journey times and also to deal with concerns regarding the ability of large vehicles to safely use Ham Lane. From 4 November buses will use stops on the High Street. Customers wishing to catch buses from Ham Lane should use Service 179 as an alternative to Service 178, or they should walk to alternative stops served by Service 178 in Paulton. In Bristol, the route that buses take around the City Centre is changing. Inbound services will travel via Temple Way and Bond Street from 4 November while outbound buses heading towards Bath will travel via Bridewell Street, Nelson Street, Fairfax Street, Broad Weir, Lower Castle Street and Temple Way. The changes mean that it will soon be easier to travel from Bath Road to Old Market, while customers heading out of the City Centre will soon be able to board buses from outside Cabot Circus at Broad Weir. In addition to these route changes the timetable is being altered. Some journeys, which currently start in Radstock are being extended to start in Bath. There will be an earlier first journey from Bath to Bristol (leaving Bath at 0530 hours Monday - Friday) and some additional journeys between Bristol and Bath on Monday " Saturday evenings. Some amends are also being made to the Sundays and Public Holidays timetable. Customers are advised to check the new timetable carefully before travelling. Service 179 (Bath - Midsomer Norton): The timetable of this service is being changed quite considerably. From 4 November there will be an earlier first journey from Bath to Midsomer Norton, leaving Bath at 0820 hours. This journey is expected to be welcomed by those concessionary pass holders who wish to travel from Paulton to Midsomer Norton in the morning as they will now be able to do so more easily, using the journey which will pass through Paulton at 0907, arriving in Midsomer Norton at 0921 hours. The timetable on Sundays and Public Holidays is also changing, with an additional journey in each direction added in. Specifically there will be an earlier first journey from Midsomer Norton to Bath on these days, at 0858 (compared with 1100 hours at present) and in the opposite direction a journey from Bath to Midsomer Norton at 1000 (compared to 1150 hours at present). Departure times of most other journeys have changed too so customers are advised to check the new timetable carefully.