First Bus announces major changes to bus services

FirstGroup has confirmed it is considering a sale of its UK businesses.

Bus services across Weston and North Somerset have been altered due to changes in demand and the Covid pandemic. - Credit: SUB

Bus routes across Weston and North Somerset have undergone major changes in a bid to cope with a national shortage of drivers during the Covid pandemic.

The changes, which will take effect from January 30, are also a response to lower demands and the unreliability of certain services.

First Bus services 2, 4 and 6 will move to a bus every two hours due to reduced demand while the 3 service: Worle - Searle Cresent will reduce to every 20 minutes, Monday to Friday, and every 30 minutes on Saturdays.

Crossville and First Bus vehicles in the town centre.

First Bus' 3 service is one of many to be reduced. - Credit: Archant

First West of England's managing director told the Mercury and Times that these services will continue to be reviewed after the changes are in place.

Doug Claringbold said: “These changes are designed to improve the performance of several key routes whilst ensuring that, with the ongoing impact of the Omicron variant on staffing levels, services are at a level of frequency that we can deliver more reliably.

“We continue to do our utmost to deliver a high level of service and to work with North Somerset Council to manage the network through these challenging times. 

"All services are, of course, subject to constant review and if the situation with staffing levels, customer demand and government restrictions changes, we will take that into account."

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Major changes include the introduction of the X4 service which replaces the X3, X3a and X4: Bristol – Portishead services.

The new X4 will operate every 30 minutes throughout the day Monday to Saturday, with a reduced frequency on evenings, Sundays and Public Holidays.

This X4 service will travel from Bristol via Hotwells, Abbots Leigh, Ham Green, Pill, Easton-in-Gordano, Sheepway, Sainsbury’s, Harbour Road, High Street, Combe Road, Avon Way, Weatherley Drive loop (Police HQ), Nore Road, West Hill, Avon Way then onward to Bristol.

Portishead Marina.

The X4 service will not operate via Portishead Marina due to issues with parked vehices. - Credit: Archant

It will not operate via Portishead Marina due to a continued issue of parked vehicles disrupting buses and delaying the service.

North Somerset Council is expected to provide an alternative service as well as the existing stops on Harbour Road and Quays Avenue for the new Service X4.

Elsewhere, following reviews with North Somerset Council, the X5 services: Bristol - Portishead - Weston route will be altered.
A stop on the Portway will be added to allow customers to interchange onto services to Avonmouth & Cribbs Causeway.

The new route will operate from Bristol via Hotwells, Portway (stopping at the Akeman Way bus stop on Portway only), Sheepway, Sainsbury’s, Harbour Road, High Street, Gordano School, Clevedon Road, Weston-in-Gordano, Walton-in-Gordano, Clevedon Hospital, Old Street, Great Western Road, Old Church Road, Salthouse Fields, Southern Way, Central Way, M5 then the current route into Weston with the same route on journeys towards Bristol.

More information on affected routes can be found at www.firstbus.co.uk/bristol-bath-and-west/routes-and-maps/route-maps

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