First Group limited who operate the U1 service to Lower Oldfield Park via Bath city centre and the U2 route via Combe Down, Southdown and Oldfield Park are proposing a number of changes to the routing and timetabling of the U1 service. The changes have been registered with B&NES Council to take effect from 2 September 2018.
First are informing their users that the change is being made because of the urgent need to improve air quality in certain city streets, specifically Dorchester Street and Manvers Street. The U1 service is a large-scale operation which represents about a quarter of Bath’s bus operation. First have taken the view that given that most of their passengers are travelling through the city it makes sense to divert the buses round the Ring Road rather than via the city centre as currently.
All U1 journeys will follow a single route via the Ring Road and have a single main city centre departure location at Corn Street opposite Avon Street car park, which is close to the bus and railway stations. The main change is the re-routing of all U1 buses from Corn Street across Churchill Bridge and then along Rossiter Road to the bottom of Bathwick Hill. The return buses will go the same way and will serve a stop in the Ambury, immediately after crossing Churchill Bridge.
This change will remove a large number of bus movements from Dorchester Street, which has the second worst air quality in Bath, Manvers Street, Pierpont Street, Parade Gardens, the Abbey, the Guildhall Grand Parade, Pulteney Bridge and Street and North Parade and Bridge.
Staff and students who use the U1 service to travel to and from the city centre including to and from the Virgil Building in Manvers Street will be interested to know that First are planning a new Service 10 between Bath Abbey and the University at a 30-minute frequency between approximately 0900 and 1430. The new Service 10 will start on 2 September and is particularly aimed passengers for whom walking to the new Corn Street departure point would be inconvenient or pose a problem.
As the U1 is a commercial service that does not receive subsidy the decision to operate or not rests with First. The Traffic Commissioner consults with the local authority before recording the registration but has no power to reject a registration unless it is not technically compliant. Whilst there is no process of public consultation in local bus service registration, the University would like to hear the views of staff and students on the changes proposed to the service.
If you wish to express your view about the changes First intend to make, please email: newU1route@bath.ac.uk. Your views will be passed onto First.
For more information see the First announcement.