Bristol First Bus service called ‘unreliable’, leaving passengers stranded


A First bus service has been criticized for lack of service, punctuality and leaving people stranded.

Service 42 connects Bitton with Bristol city center and returns via Oldland Common, North Common, Kingswood and along the A420 to the center.

Bus riders have complained that the service is not fit for purpose for various reasons.

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Despite this, First Bus maintains that the punctuality of number 42 is “consistent”.

Some users have reported that service will end early on Cecil Road in Kingswood, leaving the rest of Kingswood, North Common, Oldland Common and Bitton without service.

With only one bus per hour, customers are forced to either wait in the cold, pay for a taxi, or have a friend or relative come and pick them up.

On top of that, users have complained that the service suffers long delays, doesn’t show up, gets canceled, or when it finally arrives, ending at Lawrence Hill instead.

North Common resident Gloria Morris compared the 42 bus service to a Sunday service with residents unable to take a bus very frequently.

Gloria said: “We only have one bus an hour now, which looks like a Sunday service. The problem is a lot of buses don’t show up and people are stranded. the year is not good enough.

“First Bus says we don’t guarantee two buses an hour, but from Park Estate at Cadbury Heath they have seven buses an hour into town and another bus from Bath to Cribbs Causeway.

“Couldn’t they just take one of those services out and give us one. We’d be happy with just one more bus an hour.

“I can assure you that the buses from Kingswood to Park Estate in Cadbury Heath are just as empty.

“I don’t understand why they can’t just take a bus off this route and put it on our route. Why do they justify seven buses going into town per hour?

“They have buses to town, Hanham, Kingswood, Cribbs Causeway, and Bath, and we only have one bus and you can’t even count on it.”

Her disabled husband and granddaughter have both reported problems using the service in recent weeks.

She added: “The other week my granddaughter couldn’t get on the 42 bus to go home because it was full. However, from the city they are starting to empty and a lot of people. get off buses at Lawrence Hill, Redfield and Kingswood.

“Because there is only one bus an hour, they had to take a bus to Longwell Green and phone her mother to come and pick them up.

“My husband is partially disabled, he wears braces and has difficulty walking. We waited over an hour to catch 42 for a dentist appointment but he never showed up. Had to walk to service 43 at Cadbury Heath.

“He called the dentist because he missed the appointment and was told there was nothing they could do about the fact that he missed it.

“There were many times when there had been other people at bus stop 42 and we all had to walk to service 43 at Cadbury Heath.

“The other week about five of us all walked from bus stop 42 to 43. It makes it look like 42 isn’t picking up passengers and 43 is when most people on 43 were all people who wouldn’t. Get on 42 because it’s unreliable. “

When the service does not show up or ends early, passengers are sometimes forced to use local taxi services.

Gloria added: “We can’t drive, so we rely on the buses. If we miss the bus every hour, we have to take a taxi back home because we don’t wait an hour.

“A few weeks ago we got caught on the 42 and it ended at Kingswood. We had to take a cab back home because we would have had to wait an extra hour to get home otherwise.

“There are so many problems and so many people here locally who are dissatisfied and there is no one who will listen to us.”

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However, despite complaints from several of its users, First Bus is adamant that the service is reliable and that the punctuality of the 42 is consistent.

A spokesperson for First West of England said: ‘As is happening in the bus industry, we have seen varying levels of driver shortages in some of our areas of operation over the past few weeks, to l like other road transport companies.

“We do everything we can to maintain a comprehensive service network that supports our customers and our communities.

“There have been a few occasions recently where Service 42 has ended at Lawrence Hill due to a driver shortage and we apologize to customers for any inconvenience this may have caused.

“However, there are seven other services operating out of Lawrence Hill and downtown every few minutes and all affected customers will have been offered alternative trips on these buses, not left stranded.

“According to our data, the punctuality of Service 42 is constant. However, we are keeping all of our services under review and will continue to monitor Service 42 to implement any improvements that may be required in the coming months.

“To alleviate the current shortage and ensure that our customers can plan their trips with confidence, we have made temporary adjustments to the schedules of certain services to ensure reliable service and to minimize disruption.

“We have also accelerated the introduction of new technology that allows customers to see on the app or on Real Time Information Panels (RTIs) if a service has been canceled and when the next is due to introduce certainty. for the customer as we address this short-term situation.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding. “

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