Friday, 25 May 2018

The M3 Is Almost Here (1) ...

But Not The Congested Motorway!
On Tuesday next, 29th May, the first phase of Bristol's much delayed and highly controversial Metro bus network opens its platform doors for real live paying passengers; as long as they don't try to pay the driver.

The project has had a long and tortuous history but the good folk at Bradley Stoke have documented the ups and downs (mostly the latter) for many an long year.
The current edition of this on-line "rag" headlines the exciting development for this coming weekend.
Unfortunately it is not the MetroBus route M1, but First's re-jig of the services to Thornbury giving Bradley Stoke a half hourly zip via the M32, using some of the Metro Bus infrastructure to speed Thornburians on their merry way.
On Tuesday 29th we are launching what can only be described as a revolution in bus travel for people who live in Thornbury and travel to and from Bristol. Marlborough Street is replacing exiting routes 78 & 79 with two new ones, T1 and T2. The flagship service becomes the T1, providing a half-hourly link from Thornbury using a new route via Aztec West roundabout onto Bradley Stoke Way, the new link road and the M32 - this will be much faster than the current service.

Our latest Scanias, built to almost Metrobus specification, will be used on this service, which is the (albeit low key) start of the SouthGlos Lynx brand.
Local feedback so far is enthusiastic, so good luck next week to all in Team Marlborough Street! (From First West of Englnd staff newsletter)

The Metrobus M1, it has been announced, will start in January 2019.

The "Journal" archives something of the history of the project, this from the very early days.
Then there was a revised plan including Park and Ride sites (plural).
At one stage there was to be a third at the bus only junction on the M32.

Bristol Parkway station, possibly one of the most important "traffic objectives", has disappeared from the grand plan and only one (existing) Park and Ride remains at Emersons Green, now renamed Lyde Green.
Thus it is that from Tuesday 29th, service M3 replaces X48 to the Park and Ride and thus begins the stunning MetroBus project, just a few years late. 

On Tuesday last a bag of goodies popped through the fbb mansions' letterbox.

There were vouchers for FREE day tickets ...
... obtained in only (!) SIX easy stages from First's m-ticket system.
Students and switched-on youff will, of course, find this process trivial in the extreme - but whether the likes of Elsie Miggins of Wick Wick** will cope is doubtful. But, with no "on-bus" transactions, there is no other way of collecting your Brucie Bonus.


Then there is a leaflet inviting fbb to say hello.
"Hello Metrobus!"

Your "exists back in the 50s" (according to one anonymous blogger) will examine the contents in a little more detail tomorrow. But there is much to marvel at!
My God - it's full of stars!

But the fun and jollity is not yet over. There is an excellent timetable and map, again to be reviewed in detail tomorrow ...
... plus a rather luxurious notebook and pen, ideal for keeping records of your metrobus rides.
A week ago today there was a pre-public-launch "maiden voyage".
How long will it be before the buses are that full for real?

Metrobus factoid No 37. Although ALL buses can use the Metrobus bus lanes (on the M32, for example) the new buses-only junction with the M32 is restricted to Metrobus vehicles ONLY - a quote again from the staff newsletter.
P.S. It isn't the bridge on Stoke Lane - which is a public road!
Stapleton Allotments Bridge? Begbrooke Bridge?

Also in fbb's goody bag, although not associated with Metrobus ("Hello!"), was a card flyer for the MY FIRST MILE service reviewed yesterday. 
On the obverse, the fare price is confirmed as cheap as chips and including a First Bristol "inner zone" day ticket (electronic, of course, not paper!).
A one-off journey would then be £6 return.

The challenge still is to see whether this price will tempt people to adapt to the timetabled inward taxi journey and leave their cars at home.
**Wick Wick
This is not a figment of fbb's imagination. A roundabout and some side roads exist at the binomial oddity that is Wick Wick.
Here the M3 stop is named after the pub, that is the Willy Wicket on Wick Wick Close at Wick Wick; tricky to remember!!
 Next M3 blog : Saturday 26th May 


  1. Minor correction, the M3 doesn't open its doors to far paying passengers on Tuesday 29th May, but on Sunday 9th June. There's some free days first...

  2. Correct. But the passengers are technically fare paying - the fare is zero! I will have my fare paid for me by nice Mrs May!

  3. Really FBB - are you ever happy at new technology? Those six torturous steps to get an mticket are so stunningly easy (and I say that as a not particularly tech savvy man in his late 40s).

    In fact, once the app is on your phone (which is simple enough), it is remarkably easy to use. In fact, I can buy the ticket in advance without having to ensure I have cash first thing in the morning (and ensuring I have sufficient change in order not to remove the driver's float). So much easier.

    As for those people who complain about not having charged their phone.... well, that's like not bringing your wallet out of the house.

    1. And as if by magic, lots of new buses are now fitted with USB charging points. How convenient!