Funding for the improvements was obtained from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund
First buses on the X1 route, connecting Weston-super-Mare and Bristol have been upgraded with leather seats and free WiFi. The changes add to improvements made by First in April when it increased daytime frequency on the service from half-hourly to 20 minutes.
The X1, which is a well subscribed commuter route and a popular service for day trippers visiting Weston-super-Mare from Bristol (and vice versa), is part of the Greater Bristol Bus Network scheme, which was formally launched in March 2012.
The improvements were paid for by ‘Kick Start’ funding obtained by North Somerset Council through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. ‘Kick Start’ is designed to give operators financial support for two years, enabling them to improve routes and services.
To mark the improvements to the service First, in conjunction with North Somerset Council, is running a focused marketing campaign around the new service. A number of fares between key destinations have been reduced and around 26,000 homes along the route are being sent mail drops telling them more about it and offering them a free journey aboard the newly improved buses.
In addition, the company handed out goodie bags to around 500 lucky travellers last week, which provided more information about services in Weston-super-Mare and the attractions accessible by bus in the area. Focused predominately on day trippers the promotion will be followed with another aimed specifically at commuters.
Marc Reddy, First’s Regional Commercial and Business Growth Director, said: “These special touches do make a difference and we expect commuters and leisure travellers using this service will appreciate the difference. We hope customers, particularly those who live along the route of Service X1 who have not used it before, will see this as an opportunity, giving the bus a try; we expect people will be pleasantly surprised by all the service has to offer them.”
Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, Deputy Leader, North Somerset Council, added: “We hope this improvement, which is supported by our investment in dedicated bus lanes and new live information at bus stops en route, will usher in a new era of bus transport and encourage local residents and visitors to switch to regular bus travel between Weston and Bristol, avoiding congestion and parking issues as well as the increasing personal fuel costs.”