New metrobus route launched in Bristol

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The new m4 will join the m2 and m3, which started operating in 2018, and the m1, which launched in 2019. WECA

Despite ongoing driver shortages, a new route has been added to the Bristol metrobus network, joining the three routes already in operation

A new route was launched in Bristol on 22 January to build on the city’s existing metrobus network, which provides a high-quality limited stop service with off-bus ticketing. Route m4 will run between Cribbs Causeway and the city centre, and will be operated by existing metrobus operator First West of England.

Works along the m4’s new route, which include the installation of a new railway bridge and new bus lanes as well as upgrades to bus stops, have been carried out by South Gloucestershire Council thanks to £57 million of funding from the West of England Combined Authority.

The service will run between 0600 and 2300hrs on weekdays, with a later start at weekends, and at a frequency of every 20 minutes on Monday to Saturday, and every 30 minutes on Sundays and bank holidays.

The route will serve Bristol Parkway railway station and University of the West of England and eventually be routed via the new Bristol Arena and Brabazon development on the former Filton Airfield.

Buses will be fuelled by biogas, using food waste as a sustainable fuel. Stops along the route will be upgraded with real-time information, the installation of bus shelters and iPoints (combined ticket machines and information displays), along with extra landscaping.

Doug Claringbold, Managing Director of operator First West of England, said: “We’re proud to be operating the m4 and giving even more people the chance to experience the metrobus and travel sustainably on a modern bus network. We very much welcome this investment in bus infrastructure, which is critical to the region’s transition to a sustainable, low carbon future. Since the m2 and m3 were launched in 2018, and then the m1 in January 2019, metrobuses have carried over 13 million passengers, despite the pandemic. These services enable faster, more direct journeys. They offer customers a cheaper and greener alternative to the car and taking the bus is a great way to support family budgets as more people consider cost saving measures.”

Metro Mayor Dan Norris added: “It’s positive to see progress being made on this new m4 service. Important work like the widening of Gipsy Patch Lane to install new bus lanes – fully funded by the West of England Combined Authority I lead – has been completed. There are undoubtedly still serious problems on the buses and I’m conscious that too many passengers are seeing reductions in the frequency of buses and there are cancellations and delays. This is due to the driver shortage, which remains critical, but is being addressed. I have sought, and received, assurances that there is the capacity to run this new service.”

South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Strategic Infrastructure Councillor Steve Reade said: “The Cribbs Patchway metrobus extension is part of our commitment to improve public transport, walking and cycling facilities and the road network. This has been a flagship project for us that we have been working on for many years. Work started on the project in 2014 to provide an alternative, fast and direct bus route between Parkway station, The Mall at Cribbs Causeway and Bristol city centre and I am very pleased that the new service will start supporting our residents making the switch to public transport. I can’t wait to see this new bus service in operation helping the residents of Patchway and Stoke Gifford go about their daily lives and hopefully encouraging more people to consider bus travel.”