MetroBus: Your questions answered

August 26 2016

We've been putting up with the traffic delays and diversions for many months so that the new MetroBus routes can be created.

We've been putting up with the traffic delays and diversions for many months so that the new MetroBus routes can be created. But what is MetroBus and how will it benefit people in our area?
Downend Voice put residents' questions to MetroBus and this is what they told us.

What is MetroBus?
MetroBus is a new express bus service for the West of England Region. It is a joint project between Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council and North Somerset Council. It's a smarter way of travelling that uses a combination of segregated busways and bus lanes.

Where does it go?
MetroBus comprises three interlinked bus routes: North Fringe to Hengrove, which is the one nearest to Downend, Ashton Vale to Temple Meads and the South Bristol Link. The North Fringe part has two branches from Frenchay – one to Cribbs Causeway and the other to Emersons Green. The first services are due to start next year.

What are the benefits to bus users?

Bus passengers will benefit from faster and more reliable journey times. As buses become more reliable more people will be willing to leave their car at home, easing traffic congestion for everyone.
What about those who have to use their cars?
Improvement to public transport eases traffic congestion for everyone.

How many people do you expect to use MetroBus?
More than 20,000 passengers a day. Currently, 128,000 passengers use First Group’s buses in Bristol on an average weekday. The number of passengers who will use MetroBus instead of travelling by car is forecast to be 2,000 each weekday in the first year. Estimates of initial passenger numbers often prove to be conservative; when the Cambridge Busway opened passenger numbers were 46 per cent higher than predicted.

Can I pick it up in Downend and where?
Although MetroBus doesn’t directly serve Downend, passengers will be able use existing buses to connect to MetroBus. In these plans, MetroBus stops are shown in pink, existing bus stops are shown in blue and existing bus routes in blue lines.
The significant improvements MetroBus is making to public transport will benefit Downend residents – more people on buses means fewer cars on our roads.

What happens near Frenchay and the M32?
Services along the Coldharbour Lane part of the route will use new bus lanes created within a widened section of carriageway, continuing to where Coldharbour Lane becomes Stoke Lane. MetroBus stops will be near the entrance to UWE and Bristol Business Park; and near the residential areas to the south of the university at Lancelot Road.
The route will then follow Stoke Lane in a southerly direction, passing over the M32 via Stoke Lane bridge.
A new bus-only junction will provide dedicated MetroBus access to the M32 from Stoke Lane. Travelling southbound, the route will turn left at a new signal junction on Stoke Lane, providing access to the bus-only junction and Stapleton Allotments. The route then travels round onto a new southbound on-slip to the M32.
The northbound bus exit from the M32 will run via the new bridge over the M32 and join Stoke Lane to the south-east of the existing overbridge.
Will it stop at Broadmead?
MetroBus services will run along the M32 / Newfoundland Way and Newfoundland Circus along an extended inbound bus lane leading to Bond Street.
How much will it cost? Can I use my bus pass?
MetroBus fares will be affordable and consistent with the background bus network. The West of England councils are looking at ticketing options for MetroBus, these include contactless payment, an Oyster-style smartcard and mobile phone ticketing.
Concessionary travelcards (bus passes) will be accepted on MetroBus services. Other ticketing options will be available and will be confirmed before services start in 2017.
The maximum adult and child single fares for MetroBus services are 0 to 3 miles single trip – Adult £1.50, Child £0.75; 3 to 6 miles single trip – Adult £2.50, Child £1.25; Greater than 6 miles single trip – Adult £3.50, Child £1.75
However, MetroBus operators may charge fares at a lower level than this maximum figure.
Will there be special size buses?
The bus operators that will run MetroBus will choose the vehicle. However, we can say that the bus won’t be an articulated and is likely to have two doors which – one for getting on the bus and a separate door for passengers getting off, this will decrease the amount of time MetroBus spends at stops. MetroBus vehicles will be green and low-emission and the bus is likely to be a hybrid-drive that uses less fuel than a standard bus.

What will happen to existing bus services, including the X48?
The X48 replicates the MetroBus route in this part of Bristol. It was set up by First in anticipation of the MetroBus services and to grow the demand for such a service. The X48 like all bus services is operated by a commercial company who are free to decide where and how they operate their services.