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Author Topic: MetroBus  (Read 87917 times)
WelshBluebird
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« Reply #675 on: October 25, 2018, 12:22:19 pm »

It seems to me that the causes of late running are largely predictable. For example: Students have turned up in September in previous years; the roadworks near Temple Meads were know about long in advance; general congestion due to volume of traffic happens each day. I can't believe that this was a surprise to the manager who went out to drive the bus. These factors all need to be taken into consideration when designing the timetable. The result would be longer (potentially much longer), more realistic journey times in the timetable, especially at peak times. The problem for the operator is that to maintain service frequency with longer journey times requires more vehicles in traffic. Sadly it appears that First are struggling to provide enough vehicles/drivers even for the current timetable.

To be fair, the roadworks at Temple Meads were supposed to be finished by now! Obviously anyone with half a brain could tell they wouldn't be mind you. Though it was only in June that completion was officially delayed till next year.
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GBM
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« Reply #676 on: October 25, 2018, 02:30:55 pm »

It seems to me that the causes of late running are largely predictable. For example: Students have turned up in September in previous years; the roadworks near Temple Meads were know about long in advance; general congestion due to volume of traffic happens each day. I can't believe that this was a surprise to the manager who went out to drive the bus. These factors all need to be taken into consideration when designing the timetable. The result would be longer (potentially much longer), more realistic journey times in the timetable, especially at peak times. The problem for the operator is that to maintain service frequency with longer journey times requires more vehicles in traffic. Sadly it appears that First are struggling to provide enough vehicles/drivers even for the current timetable.
Won't happen (well, sorry, unlikely to happen).
First are a business and highly unlikely to lay on additional vehicles - they would require drivers, fuel, cleaners, engineers, tax, etc. Greater costs.
First are desperately cutting vehicles from the roster to reduce costs.  Meaning vehicles are more intensively utilised, so late in, even later out. The cycle will continue throughout the day.
It would be a brave manager to lay on additional vehicles and crew in the face of targeted reductions.
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Tony (Formerly FT, N!)
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« Reply #677 on: October 25, 2018, 10:32:51 pm »

It is interesting to read that the new MetroBust route is partly to blame for the poor showing!I am vindicated.
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grahame
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« Reply #678 on: November 02, 2018, 06:38:24 am »

I may be late to the party (and come bearing a gift that someone's already brought) ... but I picked up this 2 month old link:

https://busandtrainuser.com/2018/09/04/bristols-latest-metrobus-m2-begins/

which struck me as a very fair review .... and lots of maps, pictures, video for those of us who don't live on on near the M2 route
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martyjon
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« Reply #679 on: November 02, 2018, 07:42:44 am »

I may be late to the party (and come bearing a gift that someone's already brought) ... but I picked up this 2 month old link:
https://busandtrainuser.com/2018/09/04/bristols-latest-metrobus-m2-begins/
which struck me as a very fair review .... and lots of maps, pictures, video for those of us who don't live on on near the M2 route

From the articles text ;-

Astonishingly the Park & Ride is closed on Sundays and route m2 doesn’t run! That is a bizarre omission.

When the P&R was originally granted planning permission I believe it was green belt land and a covenant was placed in the conditions that the development was for commuters working in central Bristol which didn't exclude shoppers and the opening hours was set in those planning conditions. Efforts have been made in recent years to extend these hours and whilst there has been some relaxation of these conditions North Somerset Parish Council still refuse to relax the opening hours further. For example Bristol Sport (Bristols Football and Rugby teams) would like the P&R opened up on Fixture Sundays for fans to park and walk to the nearby Ashton Gate Stadium, likewise for evening games although the current evening closure time does give fans time to attend an evening fixture and make a rapid foot journey to the P&R before it is locked up for the night and if they want their car after "lock-up" there is a hefty charge for a keyholder call out.


The busway has sections of guided track which, just like in Leigh in Greater Manchester, are completely unnecessary. I suspect it may be to do with getting grant funding from the DfT that required a certain percentage of route to be ‘guided’, if so it’s bureaucracy gone bonkers as it slows the bus down, costs more to build and operate when there’s no issue with available road width.

I agree completely with the above and as the embedded videos show the "guided" bits are mainly straight stretches and where they do curve, its only by a few degrees.
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Tony (Formerly FT, N!)
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« Reply #680 on: November 02, 2018, 10:01:53 am »

Damned with faint praise.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #681 on: November 02, 2018, 10:26:51 am »

The reviewer mentions the "drab livery" of the buses. I think the dark grey with red highlights looks quite smart, but yes, it is smart in a drab, dark, dismal way. For me this is one of the most depressing things about using many buses. The lack of light and visual stimulation. A minor thing compared to how the system actually runs, but easily and cheaply fixed. At least they don't cover the windows with adverts, unlike some places.
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Tony (Formerly FT, N!)
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« Reply #682 on: November 02, 2018, 08:44:16 pm »

I thought the livery was one of the better aspects of the service, but then I prefer the minimalist approach. Some of the Blackpool trams I rode to school on as a kid had the windows covered with adverts. You could still see out, but through a glass darkly. The worst was one for Embassy Regal, with the leading character Reg saying "I smoke 'em 'cos me name's on the packet". I can't believe I fell for it.
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Tony (Formerly FT, N!)
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« Reply #683 on: November 13, 2018, 12:36:45 am »

More news on #MetroBust. The Commons Transport Committee rode into twon (by train, then their own personal electric bus) to hear from the council, the Western Super Mayor, and First Bus exactly why Bristol is a Utopia of public transport. They weren't fooled, it would seem, but my favourite quote of the day came from First West of England MD James Freeman speaking to the Post later.

Quote
First boss says more bus lanes needed to solve Bristol travel nightmare
Bristol buses 'still in disarray' admits boss of city's main bus company


ByTristan Cork Senior Reporter
15:22, 12 NOV 2018


The boss of Bristol’s biggest bus company said politicians in the city needed to ‘make politically tough decisions’ to create more bus lanes and restrict normal traffic if they want the buses to run on time.

James Freeman, the managing director of First West of England, said he had solved the company’s recruitment crisis - which prompted a huge rise in complaints since September, and an apology from the company.

But the buses were still ‘in disarray, frankly’, within minutes of the start of rush hour each morning, because of the congestion that brings the city to a standstill.

Mr Freeman spoke out as three members of the House of Commons transport committee arrived in Bristol to hold a special session in the city on the buses.

They and West of England Metro Mayor Tim Bowles hailed the situation with the buses in Bristol as a success story - because the city has seen a 40 per cent rise in bus passenger numbers in the past decade.

But that increase in passengers - coupled with an increase in congestion - has led to an increase in complaints from passengers of late buses, cancelled buses and overcrowded buses, particularly on key routes in the morning and evening rush hours.


Parliament's House of Commons Transport Committee on board a First Bus to take them to City Hall (Image: BristolLive)
Speaking on board a special First bus laid on to take the House of Commons Transport Committee from Temple Meads to City Hall on Monday morning, Mr Freeman said drastic action was needed, including more investment in more buses and more drivers to try to cope with demand.

But he said the people leading the city needed to make what might be politically unpopular decisions, to curtail normal traffic and give more preference to buses to get them through the congestion.

“We are getting the recruitment problem, which we apologised for, sorted now. We are able to put a driver in every bus now,” said Mr Freeman.

“But that isn’t the problem now. The big issue is the traffic congestion.


James Freeman, MD at First Bus in Bristol
“We watch all the buses go out absolutely fine first thing in the morning, and by 8am or 9am it’s in disarray, frankly. Everything falls apart because the buses simply get stuck in traffic,” he added.

While campaigners who are calling a protest rally later this month are calling for the local authorities to take over control of public transport and running the buses in Bristol - something the West of England metro mayor now has the power to do - Mr Freeman said the issue of ownership wasn’t the most pressing.

“The issue isn’t who owns or runs the buses, the issue is getting the buses through the traffic,” he said.

“We’ve had Metrobust, which was a public project built by those local authorities, and yet it is supposed to take 35 minutes to go from Lyde Green to the city centre on the M3 Metrobust, but it takes an hour and 35 minutes instead.

“We need to join it all if we are going to sort this out. The buses have got to be able to get through the traffic.


Parliament's House of Commons Transport Committee are hold their first ever session outside Westminster (Image: BristolLive)
“I think there’s a really interesting realisation that there’s no other option here. We are looking at how we alter the way we operate, but we’re looking for politicians to make some tough decisions to restrict the movement of some of the cars around this area,” he added.

The Transport Committee chair Lilian Greenwood MP, who wrote exclusively for Bristol Live before arriving in the city, said: “The very reason the Transport Select Committee is conducting this inquiry is to find out what are passenger experiences are of using the bus. What are the things that stop you from using the bus?

"We want to hear from the Metro Mayor about how those new powers are helping or not helping in being able to improve public transport in this area. We want to hear from him about the choices he’s making or not making.

“We’ll want to understand what First Bus’s strategy is - whether their focus is maximising their profit or whether it is building a network that serves the interests of passengers across Bristol. We also want to hear what they think of working in partnerships with the local authority.

"We’re not afraid to ask them tough questions,” she added.

The emphasis is mine in Mr Freeman's quote. I am beginning to respect him. MetroBust is taking three times the time it was supposed to end-to-end, resulting in the bunching-up of services that I, and many others but not the experts, predicted as far back as 2012.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #684 on: November 13, 2018, 12:46:13 am »

It might have occurred to the select committee that the higher than national average bus usage in Bristol is a result of having lower than average local rail options. I hope they are aware of this.
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Tony (Formerly FT, N!)
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« Reply #685 on: November 13, 2018, 12:48:36 am »

It might have occurred to the select committee that the higher than national average bus usage in Bristol is a result of having lower than average local rail options. I hope they are aware of this.

That, and the expansion of UWE.
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martyjon
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« Reply #686 on: November 13, 2018, 06:48:22 am »

That, and the expansion of UWE.

At a recent meeting that I was an attendee the First Bus attendee stated that they had had requests for the M3 to operate direct via the M32 and ignore the loop to the UWE campus as this adds about 10 minutes to the journey to the City Centre. Another First Bus (supervisor/inspector ?) person has told me that the current usage of the U3 is at such a level that it could easily support another vehicle on that circuit to ease the pressure on the M3 particularly at peak times. Yesterday there must have been a failure of one of the DD vehicles used on the U3 and a SD vehicle was in use and when it left The Centre with few seats unoccupied and this was mid-afternoon. Of course I don't know what the loadings on the M3, of which the U3 reverts to after the last M3 through to Emersons Green has departed The Centre, reverts to and runs through the early hours of the day until the last service from The Centre at 04:29. If any UWE student misses that one, well they only got 1 hour 31 minutes to wait until the first service of the new day at 06:00.
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grahame
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« Reply #687 on: November 13, 2018, 07:04:19 am »

The emphasis is mine in Mr Freeman's quote. I am beginning to respect him. MetroBust is taking three times the time it was supposed to end-to-end, resulting in the bunching-up of services that I, and many others but not the experts, predicted as far back as 2012.

Quote
“We’ve had Metrobust, which was a public project built by those local authorities, and yet it is supposed to take 35 minutes to go from Lyde Green to the city centre on the M3 Metrobust, but it takes an hour and 35 minutes instead.

The article quoted is at https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/first-boss-says-more-bus-2211045 on BristolLive ... except it appear to have talked about "Metrobus" rather than "Metrobust".   Here is part of James Freeman's comment as currently shown by the source web site:

Quote
"We’ve had Metrobus, which was a public project built by those local authorities, and yet it is supposed to take 35 minutes to go from Lyde Green to the city centre on the M3 Metrobus, but it takes an hour and 35 minutes instead.

I suspect that someone has used the term "Metrobust" so often than his autocorrect made a change  Grin Grin



Quote
They and West of England Metro Mayor Tim Bowles hailed the situation with the buses in Bristol as a success story - because the city has seen a 40 per cent rise in bus passenger numbers in the past decade.

It is not a success story where a journey takes nearly three times as long as it should.  

* Multiply the average extra time taken by a bus (in hours) by the average number of passengers on a bus by the number of bus journeys per annum by the minimum wage -  call that "A"

* Take the average time in minutes that people wait at a bus stop and subtract the average time you would expect them to wait at the stop if they planned journeys to a bus's reliable schedule. Divide by 60 - call that "B". Multiply by the number of passenger journeys made per annum on the buses and that by the minimum wage. Multiple the result by "B" and call it "C".

* Take Bristol's air pollution and work out the number of additional deaths per year cause by the noxious fumes of traffic jams (i.e. current figure v figure as it would be without jams) and multiply it by the cost of a life.  Call that "D"".

Add "A", "C" and "D" and you have an indication of the current cost of Bristol's Congestion on the economy.  Would anyone care to come up with estimated numbers?

You can tell that a system's not running "fit for purpose" when the people who are supposed to be protagonists for it choose to travel differently.   I recall that - famously - the team going to Waterloo to plead for the Lynton and Barnstaple railway's retention scored an own goal when they drove to Waterloo.
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martyjon
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« Reply #688 on: November 13, 2018, 07:23:05 am »

I have stated it before on this forum but many of the problems of congestion on Bristols streets in the amount of on-street parking which the council seem to be blind too. A 28 foot wide carriageway, kerb to kerb, 6 foot reserved each side for road side parking leaving just 16 foot down the middle for two 8 foot 6 inch wide buses to pass each other Huh? Then there are arterial routes into the city, the A37, Wells Road, the A432, Fishponds/Downed Road, Staple Hill Road where mature trees are so close to pavement edges that the trunks have expanded over the kerb edgings into the gutters like a 'muffin top', or lean out into the carriageway so much that it makes some Bus Lanes dangerous to use. A few years ago a rush hour passenger carrying service from my area to Bristol lost its roof when it lurched to the left as it passed one such tree whose roots had disturbed the road surface. Chop the b****y things down and that'll allow Marvin the Mayor to save some money on the annual removal of the Autumn leaf fall from the citys streets so that he can re-open some of the citys public loos especially at some bus terminii which bus drivers relied on to take a comfort break. 
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« Reply #689 on: November 13, 2018, 11:28:43 am »

It might have occurred to the select committee that the higher than national average bus usage in Bristol is a result of having lower than average local rail options. I hope they are aware of this.

Exactly, and because of that we're basically stuck in a catch 22 'stalemate' situation

The Greater Bristol area has expanded - and continues to expand - far too rapidly for the transport infrastructure to cope with.  Plus UWE has already expanded, and Bristol Uni is to follow soon with the planned expansion of the Arenal island!

Long and short of it - we have no more room on the roads, period.  Run an unreliable bus service (am sticking just with the congestion aspect here, not lack of drivers) and people who continually struggle to get to and from work on time will more likely switch to their cars.  That obviously then leads to more congestion on the roads.  Plus - in my area at least - we've had some of our bus services slashed now so can no longer get to places by bus that we could previously

The suggestion of adding yet more bus lanes - aside from the fact the construction of them can in some situations cause traffic delays and misery for months on end, the M3 metrobus route being a prime example - will only add to even more congestion, as the Bus Lane (if it takes away a lane of traffic currently used by all vehicles) will only cause even more tailbacks!

To try and sort out the road situation - basically Buses vs Cars - in this way could take literally decades to solve, and yet as the city expands further it could potentially always be playing catch up anyway

Until someone realises that the ONLY sure fire way to help alleviate this mess is to provide alternative public transport either by using existing rail infrastructure, adding to that rail infrastructre, and / or introducing non-road running rapid transport options, I honestly don't see a way out of this

I've said it before on here, that when I lived in London for a while the idea of owning a car was ludicrous.  But returning to Bristol I literally had no other option to enable me to get to work, and most other places I needed to get to, for that matter.  The same applied with a mate of mine who moved to Manchester

And back to johnneyw's original quote, my first thought was of that British Rail ad from the 80's - "And who's ever heard of a train jam?"
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