Also going that way is First Bus' completely new route 72. But, umlike the 12 this service does not use Gloucester Road to enter the City. It runs west along Cranbrook Road and travels citywards via Blackboy Hill, Clifton Down and Whiteladies Road.
Now hang on in there. Does not Wessex Red run a service that way?
Quite a big one!
First wins the battle of Clifton Down?
Back one route to the Wessex 14.
First has started another brand new service, the X74.
What about Wessex 13 indeed?
First gains Bradley Stoke; shares M32
The core Wessex 13 bqtween UWE and Bristol city follows a convoluted route via St Matthias Campus ...
Wessex holds Fishponds and Redland
One final twist to this convoluted tale.
First reigns supreme to Yate
So what do we conclude from all this. As an outside observer, fbb sees a retrenchment by Wessex on the main UWE corridors with a dramatic increase in First's coverage. But a cynical observer cannot help thinking that this is all a bit too cosy and touchy-feely. There is certainly now more competition on routes to the Frenchay campus; but the resultant networks seem more complementary than confrontational.
And finally (and possibly a clue to these goings on?) Wessex have been called to a Public Enquiry; this, recently, from the local press.
An investigation was launched into one of the west’s biggest bus companies after authorities received more than 540 complaints from frustrated bus passengers. Wessex Connect is the second biggest operator in the former Avon after First Bus and operates a fleet of just under 130 buses.Traffic commissioner Sarah Bell is overseeing the inquiry and has the power to impose large fines and in extreme cases can take licences off transport companies.
fbb cannot find a record of the result of the enquiry, so far.