Cuts in bus timetables are move back towards pre-lockdown levels, says First
CUTS in the frequency of some bus services to Yate are part of a return to timetables similar to pre-lockdown, says operator First.
Changes introduced in September saw the Y4 to Bristol via Frampton Cotterell and Frenchay start to operate every hour rather than every 30 minutes on Monday to Fridays. First says this is a return to pre-lockdown levels – although the Y4 will continue to be operated with double deckers, rather than single deckers, to maximise the available capacity.
The Y1 from Chipping Sodbury via Yate, Coalpit Heath and the M32 has also been reduced in frequency from every 20 minutes to every 30 on Mondays to Fridays, while the Y3 from Yate to Bristol via Iron Acton, Winterbourne and the M32 is now operating once every every two hours on weekdays.
First has also changed the route of the Y6 to Southmead Hospital, via Winterbourne and Cribbs Causeway, near Parkway station, "in order to make the service more direct and serve additional stops".
The company has had to adjust the available seating on buses to enable social distancing for passengers, which means the capacity of each vehicle is reduced.
Managing director James Freeman said: “We are still in the midst of a pandemic, so this set of changes differs from service changes that we have introduced in previous years.
"For instance, some services which we introduced to support workers through the lockdown are no longer needed, and some services are returning to the timetables that they operated on before COVID-19.
“We are constantly monitoring what is needed and where to get our customers moving again safely and reliably, especially now students are returning for Autumn term.
"Amongst new measures is the introduction of dedicated, closed services for schools in order to accommodate the increased capacity.
“We are currently carrying about half the number of passengers compared to pre-lockdown and that is steadily increasing.
"Of course, we also have the challenge of social distancing which means we are running far more vehicles on some routes than normal."
First is detailing all of the changes on a dedicated web page, which can be found at www.firstgroup.com/letsgetmovingwoe.
The company is also trialling bookable services on some routes and has updated its mobile app to enable customers to live track the location of their next bus and its available capacity.