First to Re-Route U1 Service to Improve Local Air Quality and Avoid City Centre Congestion
Local bus operator First Bath has decided to start the new academic year by changing the route of the high frequency university U1 service between Bath City Centre and the University of Bath to improve local air quality and reduce city centre congestion.
Until now, the majority of the recognisable Unibuses have been running through Dorchester Street, up Manvers Street, past the Abbey and Guildhall and over either North Parade or (at Peaks only) Pulteney Bridges.
While the modern Unibus vehicles are equipped with some of the cleanest EuroVI diesel engines, driving NOx emission down by up to 95%, the bus operator has attracted criticised for operating on this route as the buses are very visible, and the bus operation as a whole inevitably adds considerably to the city centre congestion.
James Freeman, Managing Director for First Bath said:
We have taken this step because there is huge pressure to improve congestion and air quality in the centre of Bath, and at peak times some 25 buses, either double-deckers or bendibuses, are carrying thousands of University students. In recent discussions with local authority officers looking at the forward air quality agenda in particular it was suggested that we should look to remove these University buses from the city centre. We decided that we should make this change thereby greatly improving the environment in the central area of the city and providing a simple direct route for the thousands of users every day – plus a single departure point close to the bus and railway stations and away from Dorchester Street.
We do understand that any change is unwelcome for some users, especially one which calls for more walking, but we are operating in a UNESCO World Heritage City which has a very serious air quality and congestion problem.
From September, the U1 service will operate as a comprehensive single route from Lower Oldfield Park to the University via Bathwick Hill. All 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 Unibus 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.
The company is also in advanced stages of putting on 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 aimed at local people living on Bathwick Hill, in particular those for who particularly need walk-free access to the Abbey and High Street parts of the City Centre.