'Everyone at bus stop moans about 42'
A READER has contacted The Voice to complain about the 42 bus service in Kingswood.
Mrs Mason is 77 and catches the 42 from Cock Road two or three times a week. She said: "The 42 used to run every half hour, but now it's every hour – if they turn up! I try and get to the bus stop a bit early as you never know when they are going to arrive, but in comparison the 43 runs every 5 minutes – why? Sometimes two turn up at the same time too, and I want to know why there are so many when the 42 is only ever hour?
"Everyone on the bus stop moans about it, as they just seem to run whenever they want. There are lots of elderly people out there who catch the bus like me, and recently I waited an hour and 20 minutes in the rain for one - I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, and when I got home I was shaking because I was so cold."
In response, Chris Hanson, operations director of First West of England, said: “We are sorry we have had to reduce the frequency of the number 42 service while we continue to navigate the effects of the pandemic. Social distancing guidelines means we are running more buses than normal on busy routes because of significantly reduced capacity on board.
“For the time being we have to redeploy our resources to where we have the most customers – by reducing the frequency of the 42 we have been able to provide additional journeys on Service 43 between Kingswood and the City Centre – ensuring our service provides the maximum benefit for the maximum number of customers.
“Our analysis has shown that the reduced frequency will still provide ample capacity for the section purely served by Service 42. All our services are under constant review and as soon as we can revert to normal levels of service, of course we will do.”
First West of England also announced changes to some services from October 18, as part of the continuing response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
James Freeman, managing director of First West of England, said: “We are still operating in a very fluid environment due to the pandemic. As circumstances continue to change, we are regularly monitoring what is required to meet the needs of our customers.
“Currently, we are carrying about half the number of passengers compared to pre-lockdown. However, we still have the challenge of social distancing which means we are running more vehicles on some routes than normal. Alongside this, customers’ day-to-day travel no longer looks the same as it did at the start of the year as people now have a lot more flexibility. We are considering all of these factors as we review and revise timetables and frequencies.
“Our journey planning tools, including Bookmybusride.com on trial routes and the Space Checker website are helping customers plan their travel effectively. We have also just launched the Tap & Cap payment system on First Bus and metrobus services across Bristol which makes boarding easier, and faster.
“We’d like to thank all our customers for their ongoing patience and cooperation as the pandemic is a challenge for everyone.”
For details of all changes view the new timetables here: www.firstgroup.com/letsgetmovingwoe