Delight at bus firm’s change of heart

September 01 2014

PEOPLE power has forced transport company First to change a dangerous bus route through Bromley Heath.

no 5 bus bromley heath school

PEOPLE power has forced transport company First to change a dangerous bus route through Bromley Heath.

Since April, the number 5 service has been passing Bromley Heath Infant and Junior Schools in Quakers Road.

But following concerns expressed by residents and the parish council, highlighted in Downend Voice, First has announced that from August 31 the buses will use Queensholm Drive instead.

Parish clerk Angela Hocking said: “Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council would like to thank First Bus for recognising the valid safety concerns of parents and residents in Bromley Heath and changing the no. 5 bus route to address those concerns.”

She said up to six buses an hour had been passing the school and fears that it was “an accident waiting to happen” had been realised.

Residents highlighted via social media a number of incidents where vulnerable pedestrians were at risk because buses were having difficulties passing each other in Quakers Road, particularly when cars were parked outside the schools.

Councillor Sheila Ottewell, chairman of the parish council’s transport committee, took the matter to First’s customer panel and showed members photographs of a number of incidents in the area.

The council had already expressed grave concerns at a meeting of South Gloucestershire Public Transport Forum about the changed route.

As a result, First approached the Traffic Commissioners for agreement to re-route the number 5 as soon as possible and the service is being changed in time for the start of the new academic year.

A First spokesman said: “The route is also being amended to take local feedback into account: from August 31, buses will use Queensholm Drive and Four Acre Road in both directions instead of Quakers Road. Across all days of operation the timetable is also being revised slightly to improve punctuality and reliability.”

The service is also being amended in Stapleton but the rest of the route will remain that introduced in April, rather than the original number 5 journey.

First is also adding extra night buses in the Downend area from the same date. Late journeys on the number 48 have proved popular, so it is to become a 24-hour service from The Trident (formerly The Leap) to the city centre. Extra late-night journeys are being added to the number 49 route. The company says this means there will be buses at regular intervals throughout the night, Monday - Saturday. The timetable of both services is being adjusted. 

New timetables for the affected services are already available online at (under timetable booklets) and available to pick up in hard copy format, from travel shops.

Talking about the changes, Simon Ford, commercial manager for First West of England, said: “The changes being made are almost universally positive. There will be new cross city journey opportunities, changes to routes made in direct response to customer feedback, extra late night journeys on some routes and new links between Gloucester Road and Temple Meads.”