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All across the Great Western territory => Buses and other ways to travel => Topic started by: infoman on January 14, 2020, 07:45:41 am



Title: James Freeman Q And A on Radio Bristol tuesday 14 January
Post by: infoman on January 14, 2020, 07:45:41 am
also a  Bus campaigner on before 09:00am on Radio Bristol,

and James Freeman will be on radio bristol from 09:0am till 10:00am.


Title: Re: James Freeman Q And A on Radio Bristol tuesday 14 January
Post by: johnneyw on January 14, 2020, 11:53:19 am
There are summaries of James Freemans interview and open letter on Metrobust on the hourly BBC Radio Bristol news currently.

Mr Freeman now wants the 2-plus lanes in Bristol given over to Metrobust to try to make it run on time*. Seems the cost of providing the existing service was not enough and these new lanes are needed. How much did they cost in the first place and how much would they cost to transfer?  Looks rather like the Metrobust bill still seems to be rising with no guarantee that these measures would make it work.

*The article quoted journey delays of an hour and having to skip stops.


Title: Re: James Freeman Q And A on Radio Bristol tuesday 14 January
Post by: rogerw on January 14, 2020, 06:43:38 pm
I listened to most of the interview driving into Bristol (actually Staple Hill).  The discussions on Metrobus raised the important point that there are insufficient bus lanes to ensure reliability. People aren't going to catch a bus if it sits in the same traffic jams as they would in their cars.  The point about the 2+ lanes was not just about converting them to bus only lanes (easier to enforce) but also that by the time they come into operation tehy are already full of "normal" traffic. Also difficult to enforce at present.  I took a ride on the M3 shortly after its introduction and, as a retired highway engineer, there wre a number of location where I though that the design was flawed and would not help the bus service.
As an aside didn't SGC recently remove a length of bus lane at Hambrook as part of their air improvement scheme?


Title: Re: James Freeman Q And A on Radio Bristol tuesday 14 January
Post by: Red Squirrel on January 15, 2020, 01:37:32 pm
Quote
Open letter from James Freeman, MD of First West of England, addressing recent bus service disruptions and traffic congestion in Bristol
Here we are at the start of a new decade and no more than a week into it we are confronting appalling disruption to our lives as a result of traffic congestion particularly in the northern fringe of the conurbation. While this affects many people, it particularly impacts people who have made the lifestyle choice to use public transport to travel, particularly to their work.

Last Monday we introduced a fleet of eight brand new bio-methane fuelled double-decker gas-buses, replacing diesel buses, on the m3 metrobus service between Emersons Green and the city centre. This is an investment of £2.4 million in the buses alone. By Tuesday, these splendid new vehicles were utterly gummed up in appalling delays on the A4174 Ring Road. A journey that normally takes about 35 minutes was taking an hour and 35 minutes!

Not only is that frustrating for those on board, arriving at work late, in all probability, but it also means that the buses weren’t getting back to Emersons Green to operate their next trips. So, the bus to operate the 0815 departure from Emersons Green was actually only getting back there after 0900! Thus, the 0815 journey only ran when we found another bus and driver (over and above the eight that we bought).

Then the buses were actually proceeding so slowly that they were picking up more passengers at each stop, so that there was no space left for people wanting to board at places like Hambrook – those people finding themselves left behind.

Turn now to the m1 metrobus, which is the major south to north cross-conurbation route that celebrated its first birthday this week. We introduced a carefully-planned change to the peak-time timetable last Monday. This was designed to re-assign some capacity to cope with the extra people that we have attracted to metrobus in the Bradley Stoke and Stoke Gifford areas. The new arrangement provides a 7/8 minute peak time frequency between Bradley Stoke and the city centre – increasing the number of seats per hour from 450 to 600 over this section.

But on Tuesday South Glos Council started long term road works at the Great Stoke roundabout on Bradley Stoke Way. The resulting congestion has delayed buses by up to 40 minutes on each journey at the key morning peak times. This has totally disrupted the rest of the service straight through the morning, all the way to the very south of the city. So not only did this mean that the many people who have adapted their lives to picking up the bus at Begbrook near the new bridge over the M32, but even worse it meant that buses didn’t turn up on time at stops all across the route in south Bristol. For these people, the delays and disruption are completely inexplicable to them. You can forgive them for thinking we’re useless…

Of course, when the buses have been turning up at Begbrook, they are so delayed that they have picked up extra people and are therefore unable to collect any of the people waiting. The m3 buses, similarly if not worse delayed on the A4174, are also full when they reach this point. Small wonder then, that social media was full of angry entries last week – the one that caught my eye was from a customer who waited more than an hour to get onto any bus – long gaps being followed successive fully-loaded buses. No wonder these people were angry!

From last Thursday we have been able to mobilise extra buses to operate additionally to deal with some of these problems (luckily, we have some new deliveries not yet deployed and managers who are willing to drive on short notice), but this is a sticking-plaster approach and very expensive as well.

£230 million of public money was spent on creating metrobus, on top of which the operators have invested £10.5m on top-of-the-range buses. It’s largely wasted if we can’t run the service properly or at all. Not only that, if our much-vaunted metrobus system, by which so much store has been set, is not to be entirely discredited as an alternative to driving cars, then somehow the way has to be found to make these metrobuses able to run through these areas of increasingly chronic congestion.

This approach has started to be recognised in Bristol but metrobus can’t work if we don’t realise that we must take urgent action…

In the meantime, we must offer our riders, not just on metrobus but on the many other routes that are affected, especially from Thornbury and Bradley Stoke, Yate and Emersons Green, a most sincere and heartfelt apology if you have been affected this week. My fear is that, despite our attempts at mitigation, these problems will repeat next week and the week after and on until half term!

James Freeman

 Managing Director, First West of England

13/01/2020
Source: First Group (https://www.firstgroup.com/bristol-bath-and-west/news-and-service-updates/news/open-letter-james-freeman-md-first-west-england)


Title: Re: James Freeman Q And A on Radio Bristol tuesday 14 January
Post by: rogerw on January 15, 2020, 04:09:11 pm
That is very much what was said on the radio.  Reading between the lines his view is that SGC need to get their act together. My impression anyway.


Title: Re: James Freeman Q And A on Radio Bristol tuesday 14 January
Post by: simonw on January 16, 2020, 02:38:19 pm
As I live in South Gloucestershire I can honestly say the road transport system is hopeless. The continually drive to add more homes and communities without connected then to services (transport, schools, GPs, etc), is really annoying.

The upgrade of `Rabbit` rounadabout (Winterbourne) was started last week and is the current course of these issues; why this upgrade was not done when Metrobus lanes where added two years ago I have no idea.

At the same time, the council have shut Gypsey Patch lane, that connects to this round about, forcing more drives this way. They could not have planned this in worse way.


Title: Re: James Freeman Q And A on Radio Bristol tuesday 14 January
Post by: martyjon on January 16, 2020, 04:55:12 pm
As I live in South Gloucestershire I can honestly say the road transport system is hopeless. The continually drive to add more homes and communities without connected then to services (transport, schools, GPs, etc), is really annoying.

The upgrade of `Rabbit` rounadabout (Winterbourne) was started last week and is the current course of these issues; why this upgrade was not done when Metrobus lanes where added two years ago I have no idea.

At the same time, the council have shut Gypsey Patch lane, that connects to this round about, forcing more drives this way. They could not have planned this in worse way.

One m3 driver told me as he dashed off for 'a pee ' he was an hour and 25minutes late this morning on arrival at Centre after a round trip.



Title: Re: James Freeman Q And A on Radio Bristol tuesday 14 January
Post by: grahame on January 16, 2020, 05:03:38 pm
As I live in South Gloucestershire I can honestly say the road transport system is hopeless. The continually drive to add more homes and communities without connected then to services (transport, schools, GPs, etc), is really annoying.

There's talk of lots of money "wasted" on a scheme that does not work.  But how much is "wasted" and how much will come into its own once the elements that need fixing are fixed - will it be good money after bad, or a good system once it's all there?

Is the solution in the bus realm, or could it be Metro rail?   I have plotted out stations and potential stations - Cyan have more than 1 service an hour already.   Yellow have very thin services - hourly or less.  White is an open station without any usable service (!) ... and the magenta pins are places where there could / should be stations. If there was a standard joined up 20 minute service to each pin (cyan, yellow and magenta), with no sillies like stopping 1 stop short of Parkway, wouldn't this provide a network that would persuade people out of their cars?

Two major holes though - no pins in a big east of Bristol area around Mangotsfield, and no pins in the south anywhere near Whitchurch.  I can't imagine anyone in the past even thinking trains would work to those places!  :'( :'(

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/stationsinbristol.jpg)



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