Monday 18 February 2013

Plain Plane Provision from Brizzle? [part 3]

Big Advances at Bristol Airport?

And the clue comes from this extract from a recent reprint of a familiar map.
"Believe that," as Paul Daniels was wont to say, "and you'll be able to knit fog!"

Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens [RATP; the Paris bus, tram and metro operator] has, like so many of our EEC cousins, begun its march into GB; thus achieving what William The Conqueror and Adolph the Hitler failed to do; i.e. make us European. 
One of RATP's stranger UK purchases was the Bath Bus Company. Originally running a few tendered routes and this distinctive ex South Yorkshire bendibus ...
... the company developed (and now specialises in) a range of Sightseeing Tours ...
... and not just in Bath as their web site header shows.

Globally, RATP has interests in South Korea, Mumbai, Hong Kong, South Africa, USA, Italy and Switzerland in addition to its French roots. In UK, they also own and run ...
... Yellow Buses (formerly Bournemouth Corporation Transport) ...
... London United ...
... Quality Line (Epsom Coaches) ...
... and Manchester Metrolink.

But now, the Sightseeing operation based in Bath is being joined by a real, commercial bus route.
From 24th March 2013, Bath Bus Company will be operating "A4" bus service, which will travel from Bath to Bristol Airport and serve every stop along the way! This will be an hourly service and journey times are just over an hour.

The company's published route map lacks detail ...

... but the timetable is easy to remember!
It is not clear whether there is a Sunday service but certainly Sir Humphrey Appleby would describe the project as "courageous"! Vive la différence!

Between Bath and Keynsham, the A4 will compete locally with First's service 338 which runs every 30 minutes via Keynsham village as part of  a frequent link on to Bristol ...
... with X39s omitting Keynsham but following most of the A4 into the City.
The BBC/RATP servicre is purely commercial with no subsidy or financial input from the Airport. It would be interesting to stand at either terminus and see how many passengers each journey carries. It will need to capture a large pecentage of the existing Bath to Airport travellers, plus a serious chunk of local business. Will it succeed; and how long will the giant RATP be willing to sustain operating losses?

Tomorrow, another Airport service starting a week earlier and a controversy about long-term proposals for the A1 (and A2!) route into Bristol.

It's all happening down Brizzle way, m'dear!
Some regular blog readers will be expecting a few extra snippets  tomorrow  from The Sheffield Motor Bus Centenary last week. Due to extra information from Bristol, these P.S. items will now appear on  Wednesday . 
 Next Bus Blog : Tuesday 19th February 


  1. It will interesting to see what happens with this service. However, I don't think that standing at the termini will give you all the answers. I suspect that the traffic will come in the form of overlaying layers, with the residents of South Bristol the major benefactors as they, in effect, get two new routes, one to the Airport and one to Bath. These are totally new and will hopefully generate new bus traffic.

    Remember also that French companies have been running buses in this country, and London in particluar, since 1856 with the Compagnie Generale des Omnibus de Londres.

  2. love the French translations of the Somerset placenames...