First chief declares: Number 2 bus stop remains by Waitrose
A meeting of the Henleaze Forum on June 6 was packed out at Henleaze Library.
The large turnout was to hear James Freeman, managing director of First Bus, who had come to speak about Bristol’s beleaguered bus service.
Some in the audience were anticipating a lively session, as the meeting was hot on the heels of a consultation considering re-routing the no 2 bus away from North View and no longer stopping outside Waitrose.
Just like buses, when you can wait for ages before three turn up at once, three senior First Bus executives were present for the meeting: James Freeman MD, operation director Ian Coyle and commercial manager Simon Ford.
James Freeman opened his talk by raising the re-routing of the number 2 bus which he confirmed is ‘the most heavily used and unreliable bus in Bristol.’
“There is too much traffic on the route which leads to chaos on the roads. That is why we are looking at doing things with the service to make it better,” said Mr Freeman.
The customer consultation over the number 2 bus, which runs from Cribbs Causeway to Stockwood, is looking at improving reliability and punctuality by splitting the route into two separate services, improving links to Southmead Hospital so buses operate via Pen Park Road and Southmead Road, rather than Greystoke Avenue and Doncaster Road, and avoiding congestion on the A4018 approaching the Old Crow Roundabout by re-routing the service via Station Road, Henbury Road and Crow Lane.
Mr Freeman explained that the biggest hold-up in the route occurs where the bus turns into North View from the Whitetree roundabout. The service has been known to be an hour and a half late. However, feedback from the consultation at the bus stop by Waitrose had made it clear to the First Bus executives that people feel very strongly about the importance of having the bus stop here and thus, Mr Freeman announced to a delighted audience, First Bus will keep the bus stop exactly where it is.
In response to questions from the audience, James Freeman confirmed that First Bus are planning to increase the number of buses in operation from the autumn to prevent the frustrating delays that occurred last year. He said that they have recruited more drivers and the attrition rate has improved recently. An Uber-style app to show where the bus is, rather than the time or distance the bus is away from the bus stop, is being developed to provide passengers with better information.