Metrobus m3 makes maiden journey

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Service is expected to formally launch on May 29, with the m2 to follow in Autumn and the m1 expected to begin in early 2019

Regional businesses, politicians, community organisations, cultural and education leaders as well as local schoolchildren boarded the maiden journey of the new m3 Metrobus service in Bristol on May 18.

The m3 will be the first route of the £230m rapid transit system which will go live at the end of the month.

Operated by First West of England, the m3 will provide a rapid public transport service from Emersons Green in South Gloucestershire to the city centre. First has invested £10m in vehicles as part of the Metrobus development.

It has also been announced that the m2 route will start service in the autumn and the m1 will follow early in 2019.

Officially unveiling the m3 at Bristol & Bath Science Park, James Freeman, Managing Director of First West of England, said: “This is a landmark for local public transport and, in particular, for the bus in the city region.

“Metrobus combines low emissions, new customer-facing technologies and infrastructure on a massive scale. It will revolutionise public transport with faster journeys and a much higher standard in passenger experience.

“It provides the foundation on which we can build a public transport system fit for the future in the city region, which is the powerhouse of the regional economy.

“We are pushing the boundaries of bus travel to fulfil our ambition of being the smartest way to go about the region in every sense – from providing convenience and affordability to enhancing accessibility and air quality.

“We are planning to continue our fleet transformation programme, which over the past two years has led to the arrival of almost 150 brand new vehicles, equipped with the cleanest Euro VI engines, which improve air quality along the routes they operate.

“We are also looking to grow convenient, cashless payments further so that eventually the great majority of all tickets will be purchased this way.”

James Durie, CEO of the Bristol Chamber & West of England Initiative at Business West, added: “Today marks a significant step forward in public transport provision for this city region and the m3/Metrobus will help support its future growth and development by helping to better connect people with their places of work and learning. After many years of work it is great to see it now up and running.

“It is also fitting that the launch has taken place at the Bristol & Bath Science Park, one of our significant employment areas which is continuing to grow.

“However, this route and service is one of many steps this city region is taking to increase and improve mobility which helps tackle congestion and supports our economy. This is something business have long asked for, helped to bring about and want to see more of – and as soon as possible.”

The m3 will officially begin on Tuesday, May 29 and will offer free travel until June 9 to give as many people as possible the opportunity to experience the premium Metrobus service.

From June 9, it will operate on a zonal fare structure similar to other Metrobus services, with single journey tickets in a single zone priced at £1.50. An all-zone single journey is priced at £2.50, while a day ticket is priced at £4.

Metrobus tickets can be used equally on the First West of England network in Bristol and vice versa. Bus users will also be able to use the Avonfare all-operator ticket on Metrobus and all local bus services.