What actually is MetroBus?
MetroBus works like a tram only it runs on tyres and instead of rails it uses bus lanes and guided busways. It’s connected to the city’s traffic light system to ensure it moves quickly past other road vehicles and if you miss one… there will be another along in just a few minutes.
Why is there so much disruption?
For MetroBus to work it has to be quick and reliable and therefore it cannot get caught up in traffic. To overcome this, new bus lanes and bus gates have to be built. (A bus gate is a traffic light at the end of a bus lane that allows a MetroBus to jump a queue). In Bristol, the MetroBus route is 50km long. That’s a lot of new bus lanes… hence the disruption.
How will services be operated?
MetroBus will be operated on a commercial basis by private contractors in partnership with Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils.
The partnership sets out minimum standards covering things like: vehicle emissions, service frequencies, ticket prices and how often the buses are cleaned.
Operators are in final negotiations and they are expected to be announced in April 2017. At this point, final details such as timetables and ticket prices will be made known.
When will services start?
Services will start Autumn 2017.
The M2 route between Ashton Vale, Temple Meads and the city centre will be the first to launch in the autumn of this year. This will replace the existing Park & Ride service. This will be followed by the M1 route between Cribbs Causeway and Hengrove Park via UWE and the city centre. The M3 route from Emersons Green to the city centre, originally due to start in the Autumn, has been delayed due to South Gloucestershire Council’s repairs to the Bromley Heath viaduct on the A4174 ring road. This service will now start once the Bromley Heath viaduct work has been completed in the summer of 2018.
Where will services go?
How much will tickets cost?
The partnership agreement sets out the maximum fare levels for a single journey that the operators can charge. These are:
Up 3 miles: Adults £1.50 Children £0.75
3 to 6 miles: Adults £2.50 Children £1.25
Over 6 miles: Adults £3.50 Children £1.75
Concessionary travelcards will be accepted on all MetroBus services.
The actual ticket prices will set by the operators and this will be announced when final negotiation have ended.
What ticketing will be used?
You will need to buy tickets before boarding. This will speed up passenger boarding times, which in turn will lead to a faster, more reliable service.
Passengers will be able to buy their tickets from MetroBus stops, online, at local shops and via their mobile phones.
The ticket machines at MetroBus stops will accept bank card and smartcard payments, but not cash.
The exact types of tickets available and their prices will be set by the MetroBus operators.
What kind of vehicle will MetroBus use?
MetroBuses will be fuel efficient hybrid vehicles or equivalent with low emissions and feature twin doors to speed up boarding and exiting. Each MetroBus will be wi-fi enabled and feature individual USB ports at each seat for charging mobile phones, tablets etc.
How regular will MetroBus services be?
This will depend on the route and time of day. MetroBuses on the Cribbs Causeway to Hengrove Park route should run every ten minutes during peak times.
How much quicker will MetroBus be?
The MetroBus will be much quicker than existing bus services and car journeys due to the following reasons:
- Direct Routes for many people who currently have to change.
- Off-bus ticket purchasing
- Fewer stops
- Bus priority at junctions
- New bus lanes
- New bus only roads like the new M32 bus only junction.
The following table shows examples of the likely time savings during peak periods compared to the existing bus network.
|Cribbs Causeway to UWE||40 Minutes||30 Minutes|
|Long Ashton Park & Ride to Temple Meads||23 Minutes||17 Minutes|
|Emersons Green to Broadmead||40 Minutes||29 Minutes|
|Hengrove Park to Prince Street||44 Minutes||30 Minutes|
|Bedminster to UWE||41 Minutes||30 Minutes|
|City Centre to Aztec West||44 Minutes||37Minutes|
Why do we need MetroBus?Quite simply, there are too many cars attempting to use the area's roads at the same time.
- According to the 2011 census, 209,995 Bristol residents commute to work. Of these, 104,729 of them use a car or van with the majority of journeys made during rush hours.
- Add to this the number of vehicles used to ferry the kids to school.
- Then add in the large volume of commuters travelling into the city from outlying towns and villages.
- Finally add the number of non-essential car journeys
- Put them all together and what do you get... major congestion and angry commuters.
Why MetroBus not trams?Installing a tram system would have taken longer, caused more disruption and cost more money. The main reasons for choosing MetroBus over trams are set out below:
- Before rails and gantries can be installed, all major services like gas, water, electricity, telecoms, drainage and sewerage have to be removed or diverted so that they can be accessed in an emergency.
- Once tramlines are installed, the cost of altering routes is extremely expensive and time consuming.
- MetroBus is extremely flexible. As the city changes in the future, new routes can easily be added or existing routes altered to adapt to the changing need.
- A tram based system did not meet the value for money requirements set by the Department for Transport.
Why is it taking longer than expected?Unfortunately we are all human. Despite using the most up-to-date plans and documentation, we occasionally encounter the odd water or gas main that hasn’t been charted or come across services that are not as deep as anticipated. This means that the services have to be altered before the planned work can proceed. How quick this can be done depends on the complexity of the problem and the availability of the appropriate water, gas, electricity, telecommunications and sewerage engineers.
Why is MetroBus not serving my area?The initial MetroBus routes were based on the following criteria.
- Connect parts of the city with poor public transport to jobs, training, education and leisure opportunities.
- Link to Park & Ride schemes and existing public transport to offer a quick, reliable and affordable alternative to the car.
What is a guided busway?A guided busway is a purpose built track that steers a bus by external means. The busway is much narrower than a normal bus lane with high vertical kerbs. Small guide wheels attached to the bus engage with the vertical kerbs on either side of the track. This engages the steering mechanism, keeping the MetroBus centralised on the narrow busway while allowing high-speeds. Precise positioning at boarding platforms makes access easier for the elderly and disabled. Away from the guided busway, the MetroBus is steered in the normal way
How will MetroBus join the M32?The MetroBus will join the M32 in the conventional manner from its new junction at Stoke Lane. It will continue in the nearside lane until it reaches the start of the new offside MetroBus lane close to the railway bridge near Junction 2.
How many people will use MetroBus?MetroBus is expected to carry over 20,000 passengers per day. This equal to:
- Double the 7,500 passengers who daily use the Severn Beach railway line
- 15% of the 128,000 passengers using First Group’s buses in the Bristol area on an average weekday.
What are the new ponds/ditches for?The technical term for these are attenuation basins. When it rains heavily they help drain the roads so that water doesn’t come bubbling up out of storm drains. They have an added advantage of providing habitats for birds and other wildlife.