First Launches Consultation about Twerton Route Changes to Bus No 5
- Changes designed to reduce impact on congested residential Twerton roads
- Changes will see 50 per cent cut in bus movements without affecting frequency
- Consultation until 7th November, with possible implementation on 14th January 2018
First is seeking feedback on changes it wants to make to service 5, Bath’s most popular busroute. The local operator wants to reduce the impact on congested residential roads in Twerton such as Shaws Way by cutting bus movements by 50% without affecting frequency.
The No 5 connects Whiteway and Twerton with the city centre via Lower Bristol Road. The bright blue-painted buses are a familiar site from early to late seven days a week as they ply the route with a weekday daytime frequency of every ten minutes. Much of the popularity of the service stems from the fact that it operates along many of the roads in the estates, getting really close to where the 14,000 people live who rely on the service every week.
James Freeman, Managing Director for West of England and himself a Bath resident, explains the issue: “Over the years the number of parked cars has gradually increased, and this has reached the point where there is a conflict every time two larger vehicles running in both directions meet in for instance Shaws Way and Wedgwood Road, which have been reduced to just one track through it – and this leads to a lot of manoeuvring, especially when there are any vehicles parked on the yellow lines.”
Following media coverage, councillor Tim Ball reached out to First, which resulted in the bus company reviewing the route and a bus ride through the area with Councillor Ball and local resident and campaigner Sarah Moore. It quickly became clear that the reduced road space now dictates that buses should operate in only one direction through the area.
First proposes to improve the No 5 route so that buses operate over an anti-clockwise loop. Coming from Twerton High Street along Newton Road, buses will go right to the end and turn left, heading straight up the hill to the entrance to Haycombe Cemetery. There they will turn left onto the Hollow and left again to reach Haycombe Drive, then continuing all the way back down through Twerton along the present inbound route to Newton Road and into Twerton village.
This route change eliminates situations where buses might meet, and yet allows the bus company to continue serving almost every stop, although people returning to Whiteway and Twerton will get off on the other side of the road from the side that they are used to. Two stops, at Whiteway Circle and what is now the first stop in Haycombe Drive will be missed out, but these are not far from other stops that will still be served – and they will still be served by the 20, operated by Wessex.
The frequency of service remains unchanged, but bus movements on most roads will be cut by 50 per cent. The only difference will be that the buses will operate down the hill through the estates.
Councillor Tim Ball said: “I would like to thank First for listening to the community and actively engaging with us to find a safe sensible and workable solution.”
Commenting on the proposed changes, Mrs Moore added: “Although not perfect, the proposal is a very positive improvement to the existing route and would address the issue of bus movements that have been raised. I would like to encourage all residents to take part in this consultation”.
The bus company will be seeking people’s views on this idea for the next three weeks, until 07 November as it aims to introduce the new arrangement at the next agreed change date for buses in the BaNES area on 14th January 2018.
People can review the proposed route map by visiting:
Views can be submitted until 07 November in the following ways:
Post: First West of England, Consultations, Enterprise House, Easton Road, Bristol, BS5 0DZ
- At the travel shop at Bath bus station or
- At the Bus Users UK roadshow, The Vaults, Bath, October 30, where First staff will be available to talk about the proposed changes and all kinds of local bus transport matters.