Friday 6 September 2013

Timings Built On Serving Filton [4]

 the fbbs are in York 'til Monday 

We are examining bus stops along the main Gloucester Road at Filton, north of Bristol. So far we have managed to cope with about half of them.
The one positive thing is that Traveline uses stop names that are both sensible and entirely consistent. Generally Transport Defunct takes its lead (and its data) from Traveline. Of course it has to add the useful directional information for all those passengers who carry their "Silva" compass on every bus journey.
Likewise southbound ...
... although the repeated Gloucester Road Norths are probably unnecessary.

The "Filton Airfield" name is OK for the moment, but the runway is closed and up for development. Until that happens, it is difficult to predict a better name.
The stop exists for northbound buses only, there is no equivalent southbound point.

Gipsy Patch Lane is a "T" junction with the Gloucester Road but enhanced with an overpass for through traffic. The junction has traffic lights and the northbound stop is north of the lights ...
... close to a poster which may be expressing the opinions of jaded fbb blog readers! Southbound the stop is south of the junction.
For route 18 and X18 buses that turn right from Filton into Gipsy Patch Lane there is an equivalent stop.
Which leads us to another helpful anomaly NOT. The X18 benefits from on-board clever confuser stuff with visual and audio stop announcements in a sultry voice.
Being state of the art, up to date and with the very latest technology, its stop announcements are:-

At Filton College (northbound) i.e. Cleve Road
"Rodney Works"
These premises were demolished some years ago!

At Filton Airfield
"Filton Royal Mail"
The giant regional sorting office is further north than the stop, in fact almost opposite the Gipsy Patch Lane southbound time point.

The bus then turns right and calls at its "Gipsy Patch Lane" stop which it calls:-
"Rolls Royce"

This is to distinguish the stop from the next one along the lane which is called:-
"Rolls Royce"

Again, the Greater Bristol bus map as not as helpful as it might be ...
Hayes Way, Gipsy Patch Lane and Gloucester Road do not form a crossroads!

One thing that helps visiting (as opposed to regular) bus passengers is consistency and it is such  pity that the good-sense consistency of Traveline West is not carried over into ALL bus timetables and their assorted announcements. Blog reader Paul (from Brizzle), who supplied a great deal of the infomation for this blog, has also drawn up a table showing which of these stops is used as a main Filton time point.

Here is his comprehensive information.

Filton Church OR Air Balloon
(obviously and historically "Filton")
13, X18, 501, 502 and 680

Gipsy Patch Lane
(definitely NOT the real Filton) 
3, 3A, 3C, 3X, 75, 309, 311, X11 and "EXP"

Filton College
224, 680 (the two college services which terminate there)
and "EXP"

Services 18 calls at all four stops but has no timing point anywhere in Filton and limited stop X14 calls at Gipsy Patch Lane and the College but with no timetable mention. So how would you know they call at Filton?

"EXP" is part of an expansion by Wessex Red whose route 3 variations started last weekend. It runs from Portishead to various key places of employment and return ...

... and, oddly, has two Filton time points, the College and Gipsy Patch Lane.

And news breaks of yet another service to the area.
Due to start in November, The Kings Ferry (part of National Express) will offer a pre-booked commuter service from Weston super Mare, Portishead and Clevedon. We recognise "Rolls Royce" (but which one?) and we know that "Air Balloon" is Filton Church, but "Airbus"? That's a new one for our non-consistent collection!

How about a rethink of stop names ...
... then standardisation of timepoints, making sure that Filton is really Filton and not an obscure stop below a busy overpass?

But that would be both sensible (and worth considering) and helpful to the travelling public (not worth the bother, presumably).
Recent blogs, plus efforts by our Northampton sleuth, Alan, have revealed the awfulness of information for bus passengers leaving the soon-to-be rebuilt station. Having followed the tortuous and un-signposted route from station premises towards the possible location of likely bus stops, temporary or otherwise, there is, at last, a recently installed sign ...
... but still nothing to direct the innocent to the town centre!
Braking news earlier this week that Church's, one of Northampton's long standing shoe manufacturers, is seeking to buy First's soon-to-be-vacated Northampton depot. Here is "Mr Church" with the leader of Northampton Council.
The firm is suggesting that 150 new jobs will be created.
Church's (far left) next door to First's depot.
 Next Bus Blog : Saturday 7th August 


  1. The leader of the borough council is the one on the right of the picture - he is what W.S. Gilbert called a "pushing young particle".
    One of our local MPs has announced his retirement. Hardly was the ink dry on the press release of the announcement before our councillor was writing to ask Santa to bring him the job on Dec. 25th.

  2. While it is encouraging to see extra routes serving the Portishead Marina area, complementing First's X3 and 23, I couldn't find any mention under 'tickets' on the Wessex website ( of the multi-operator £7.20 'AvonRider' day ticket ... only a list of their own offerings. As this ticket is becoming more useful with new services from other operators in the 'Avon' area, surely participating operators should be encouraged to promote it? Details are available on the First website One downside of this ticket is that it is not valid between 2400 and 0600 ... not much use for anyone travelling home on the 2330 from Bristol to Portishead if it means any bus travelling after midnight.

  3. Bob, Out of curiosity I tweeted First about the evening validity of the Avon_Rider ticket. Their response was "If your on the bus before midnight you'll be fine :)". So no problem if you're going back to Portishead from Bristol, but not so good for Bristolians wanting the last bus back from Portishead at 0025 !

  4. Thank you NMcB. Earlier this year I tried to buy an AvonRider on a Wessex bus from Temple Meads Station to connect with a, what was then, 357 from Ashton Gate to Portishead and avoid the trek into the Centre. The driver said he couldn't issue 'one of those from this machine'. I contacted Wessex who said they would improve driver awareness of the ticket. Doesn't look as if drivers would get any help from the company website, even now! When in doubt, blame it on the driver:-(