I am pleased to be able to inform you that following further discussions with First, they have issued the following statement with regard to bus services to and from campus.
The changes are in the process of being lodged with the Traffic Commissioner and will come into effect from January 6th 2019. I am grateful to all those within the University community whose collective voice has helped to bring about these changes. I’d especially like to thank Eve Alcock, President of the Students’ Union, for the way she has engaged constructively and with purpose in the ongoing discussions with First.
First have made clear their desire to continue the spirit of constructive engagement which has been established between us despite some difficult initial conversations about the poor quality of service and I welcome this positive approach. There is much work to be done together and feedback will be sought from relevant members of the University community to ensure First have an appropriate understanding of the context in which the scheduling, routing and frequency of the bus services need to be planned.
Since the service changes will not come into effect until early January, First have asked me to take this opportunity to remind you that feedback from users on the current service can still be provided by emailing Bath-Uni.firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will work with First to ensure the new arrangements are appropriately publicised closer to the point of implementation.
Statement from First West of England Ltd
Changes to Uni Bus services U1 & U2 for the University of Bath
Following extensive consultation with the University of Bath, its staff and student representatives, and representations from members of the public locally, we have decided that we will revise the route and pattern of the Uni Bus U1 service from the next practical opportunity, which is Sunday 6th January 2019*.
From that date we will be changing the main route of the U1 service back to the way it was prior to September this year. We accept that, while we made the change with the very best of intentions, it hasn’t brought the benefits we were hoping for – and has been a problem for quite a few people. Whilst the centre of the city has been demonstrably clearer of traffic and cleaner of emissions we have established beyond doubt that it is not possible to take a major bus service away from the city centre streets without major inconvenience to the users. So, we’re going to change things back and make a few improvements at the same time.
So, from January 6th, the U1 will operate via Dorchester Street, Manvers Street, Orange Grove, Grand Parade and North Parade heading towards the University and via North Parade, Manvers Street and Dorchester Street heading away from the University.
The U1 will once again have bus stops in Dorchester Street and at North Parade Bridge, by the Sports Centre and at a new city centre location at Grand Parade, instead of the Abbey, because the stop there is very constricted by the long-term hoardings around the Abbey.
The full service will operate between Lower Oldfield Park and the University but at peak times when the University is in term time, buses to and from the University will operate direct via the Lower Bristol Road and Rossiter Road. These buses will be numbered U1X. At all other times all buses will operate via Dorchester Street and will be numbered U1.
A change from last year is that the direction of travel at the Oldfield Park end of the route will be reversed so that all buses traverse the loop via Lower Oldfield Park in an anti-clockwise direction. This allows us to serve stops in Lower Bristol Road, outside the Cemetery, in Brougham Hayes and Lower Oldfield Park.
In the morning peak during university terms additional buses will start at Green Park, so that passengers have the chance to load empty buses at Corn Street and Dorchester Street. Further additional buses will start at these times from Grand Parade and separately from the stop at the bottom of Bathwick Hill.
In the afternoon peak during university terms, in addition to the U1X direct journeys to Lower Oldfield Park via Rossiter Road and Lower Bristol Road, U1 buses will operate to Green Park via North Parade and Dorchester Street. Extra capacity will be created by running additional buses to North Parade and Grand Parade at the busiest times.
At other times, seven days a week, all buses will operate as route U1 along the whole line of route via the city centre.
The need for the No 10 service is removed and this will no longer operate. To address the operational problems on our other major Uni Bus route, U2, we plan to take two actions:
The frequency of the U2 service will increase to every 10 minutes in University term times, to provide sufficient capacity to deal with the larger numbers using this route this year.
In addition, we will provide (for the rest of the academic year only) an additional service solely purposed for school children attending Ralph Allen School. This will give everybody time to consider how to deal with the challenge of transporting school children along this route.
*: The 6th January date is the earliest possible date because 10 weeks’ notice for service changes are required by Department for Transport rules.