First West of England announces further minor changes to bus services in Bath
First West of England is introducing changes on many of its bus routes across Bath and the West of England region from Sunday 2nd August, in response to the Government’s recent announcement that everyone can now return to use public transport again, with the use of face coverings and social distancing.
The changes will see some routes increase and selected timetables reinstated to support social distancing onboard, as more passengers start to travel by bus again. Some Sunday services will return to more normal operating hours, as the bus operator adjusts the timetables to match customer demand.
James Freeman, Managing Director at First West of England, said: “We’re pleased to welcome back more passengers to our buses, following the Government’s latest announcement that people can use public transport again for everyday journeys.
“Over the last few months, we have steadily increased our services, following the significant reduction during the Coronavirus lockdown. Our priority is to ensure that customers can return to travel by bus again safely and with social distancing in place. To do this, we’ve adjusted our timetables and deployed buses on the busiest routes to provide additional capacity for social distancing where needed.
“As we emerge from this crisis, we are finding innovative ways to help our customers travel by bus whilst social distancing. We’ve introduced new functions to the First Bus app so you can now track the location of your next bus and check the seat availability onboard, and we’ve now just launched the an exciting new trial of the UK’s first scheduled bus booking system on selected routes in Bristol, Bath and Thornbury, where passengers can reserve a space on the bus before they travel.
“We continue to monitor all our routes and are working closely with the West of England Combined Authority to ensure that bus travel is available for those who need it. Our entire fleet remains subject to a robust cleaning regime, including a long-lasting sanitising treatment, and we want to remind all customers that they are legally obligated to wear a face covering when travelling by bus, unless they fall within the Government’s specified exemptions for this rule."
Changes to First Bus services in Bath starting from Sunday 2nd August include:
- On Service 1 (Bath Bus Station – South Down) there will be minor changes to frequency on some journeys: Daytime journeys Monday to Friday change from every 7 minutes to run every 8 minutes; Sunday services will also reduce slightly, running every 15 minutes instead of every 10 minutes, with reduced operating hours. Saturday services will remain the same, running every 10 minutes.
- Service 2 (Bath City Centre – Mulberry Park) will continue to run every 15 minutes for daytime journeys Monday to Friday and on Saturdays it will increase from every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes. On Sundays, the service will continue to run every 30 minutes, but starting a bit later and finishing at the normal Sunday time.
- Some changes are being introduced to bus services on routes 3 and 3a: Service 3 (Foxhill – Bathford via Bath City Centre) will continue to run every 15 minutes for daytime journeys Monday to Friday. Over the weekend, the Saturday timetable will increase to every 20 minutes and on Sundays the service will continue to run every 30 minutes but reverting to the pre-Covid hours of operation. On Service 3a (Weston – Batheaston via Bath City Centre), all buses running Monday to Friday will be renumbered as Service 3b, as part of the ‘Book my bus ride’ pilot. The “b” indicates that journeys can be booked on this vehicle, as from August 3rd, customers will be able to reserve a space on this service during the week by visiting bookmybusride.com. A Saturday service 3a will also be introduced to run every 20 minutes on this route.
- Service 4 also operates between Weston and Bath (Weston – Odd Down via Bath City Centre). This service will continue to run every 15 minutes for daytime journeys Monday to Friday and every 20 minutes at the weekend. However, on Sundays there will be changes to the operating hours of the timetable.
- Service 5 (Bath Bus Station – Whiteway) will continue to run every 8 minutes during the day, Monday to Friday, however the extra short journeys between City Centre and Twerton Arch will be withdrawn as these have proved not to be necessary. The weekend timetable for Service 5 will continue to run every 15 minutes, but with Sunday operating hours back to pre-Covid-19 times.
- Weekend services on routes 6 (Bath Bus Station – Fairfield Park), 6a Bath Bus Station – Fairfield/Larkhall) and 7 (Bath Bus Station – Larkhall) will see some minor changes: The Saturday Service 6a will be replaced by services 6 and 7 to run every 30 minutes. On Sundays, services will continue to run every 30 minutes, but starting later and finishing earlier, corresponding to the pre-Covid-19 timetable.
- On Service 8 (Bath City Centre – Kingsway via Oldfield Park and Monksdale Estate) the Saturday timetable will double in frequency for daytime journeys to run every 20 minutes. The Sunday service on this route will continue to run every 40 minutes but starting later and finishing earlier than in recent weeks.
- Service 9 remains suspended and customers wishing to travel by bus on this route should use the alternative services 3a, 3b and 4 which operate between Weston and the City Centre. A further change is planned for the start of September to provide a service for people in Westcombe and Upper Weston.
- University services U3 and U6 continue to be suspended, as the University remains closed to students.
- Service 37 (Bristol – Hanham - Bath) continues to be suspended. Services 19 (Bath – Cribbs Causeway), X39 (Bath – Bristol direct), 44 (City Centre – Cadbury Heath via Hanham Common) and 45 (City Centre – Cadbury Heath via Hanham) provide alternatives for customers travelling on this route.
As more people begin to return to work, Bath Park & Ride services will continue to run on the current timetables, with some very minor changes:
- There will be a slight change to departure times on Park & Ride service 42 between Odd Down and Royal United Hospital and customers are advised to check the timetable.
- Sunday operating hours will reduce slightly on the timetable for Newbridge Park & Ride Service 21; Lansdown Park & Ride Service 31; and Odd Down Park & Ride Service 41, however buses will continue to run on the same frequency.
New timetables will be in place for customers travelling between Bristol and Bath on the newly branded Aquae route:
- On the Aquae services and X39 (Bath – Bristol direct) and 39 (via Keynsham) the frequency of off-peak journeys will increase to every 12 minutes.
- The Saturday service on this route will now operate on the direct X39 service only, running every 15 minutes. Customers travelling between Bristol and Kenysham can use service 349 (Bristol Bus Station – Keynsham Church), which has been introduced on Saturdays to run every 30 minutes during the main part of the day.
- On Sundays, buses will continue to run every 15 minutes on service 39 (Bath – Bristol via Keynsham), but with operating hours returning to normal pre-Covid levels.
The Discover services will see some minor changes for customers travelling between Bath, Salisbury, Trowbridge and Frome:
- On Service D1 between Bath and Salisbury there will be a minor change to the timetable for services towards Bath, with buses running 5 minutes later throughout most of the day. For Saturday journeys, Service D1x (Bath – Trowbridge direct via Sally-in-the-Woods) will be introduced to run during retail hours, and a number of journeys on Service D1 (Bath – Salisbury) will now extend to run between Warminster and Salisbury. The Sunday service on both the D1 (Bath – Salisbury) and D1x (Bath – Trowbridge) remains the same, but with some early and late journeys withdrawn.
- On service D2 (Bath – Frome) the Saturday timetable will double in frequency to run every 30 minutes with during retail hours, to support social distancing on this route as more shoppers return to travel by bus. The Sunday service will remain the same, but with some early and late journeys withdrawn.
For customers travelling between Bath and Paulton, there will be some minor changes to the timetable on Service 171/172 during the week, as well as an increase in frequency of buses on Saturday:
- From Monday to Friday, alternate journeys on this route will now be numbered 171, which will run in a clockwise loop around Farrington Gurney and Paulton. Service 172 will then also operate in an anti-clockwise loop around Paulton and Farrington Gurney from Monday through to Saturday. This provides journeys both ways round the Farrington Gurney loop.
- The Saturday timetable on this route will also increase from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes.
Some minor changes are planned for services between Bath and Wells:
- On Service 173 (Wells to Bath via Gurney Slade) an hourly Saturday service will be introduced to support more customers returning to use bus travel along this route.
- On Service 174 (Wells to Bath via Shepton Mallet) early morning journeys on Sundays will be withdrawn due to low customer demand. The service will remain the same throughout the rest of the week and weekend.
Customers can find all the latest service updates, information and timetables on the First West of England website here: www.firstgroup.com/coronaviruswoe.