Sunday, 29 November 2015

Bellicosity in Bristol (2)

What Would Mr Cribb Think Today?
No-one rally knows who Cribb was, and why he had a causeway named after him. The causeway isn't over anything, like a river or a marsh, it's just an ancient road, possibly Roman. The whole area has changed out of all recognition.
There's an M5 with its A4018 access road, there's Filton airfield (now closed) and lots of housing development with much more to come. And then there is the new Cribbs Causeway. Technically the big shopping centre is called "The Mall" and is situated in a sea of retail parks, hypermarkets and entertainment "facilities". The Hamlet of Charlton has gone for ever.

A few reminders of the past history of the area can be found. The Hollywood Tower still stands (top left) ...
... and Pen Park Hole remains although well hidden.
But of course, far more interesting than any of this is the joy and delight to be experienced from a visit to The Mall shopping centre.
Sadly it is too far to go from Seaton for the old folks. 
One more acceptable excitement is the Cribbs Causeway bus station; with the atmosphere of a Shakespearean blasted heath.
It is here where Wessex Buses have chosen to retaliate against the perceived success of First Bus in its services to the University of the West of England (UWE in acronym and Yew-ee in speech) and Bath University.

Recent timetable changes and route number simplification (whereby small numbers apparently attract huge numbers of extra passengers who cannot count to more than 9) have come to benefit (?) the travelling public. The reasonably direct 1 and 2 ...
... now have colour branded buses with tastefully not-quite-matching orange slash.
The timetable leaflet shows a bus every five minutes on a Saturday ...
... but with a halved headway on Monday to Friday.
Shouldn't that read "then every ten minutes on each service"?

Two indirect routes have recently been renumbered 3 and 4 ...
... to "make it easier for passengers" travelling between city centre and Clifton. Lets hope not too many of them take the 3 to their retail therapy and enjoy a time consuming tour of the delights of Avonmouth!
Sadly the rich architectural heritage of the Grain Silo has now been demolished. Surely it should have been a Grade 1 listed building?

At last we get to the point, because whilst fbb was following the horrors of Sheffield, Wessex Bus have started a competitive route from Bristol centre to Cribbs Causeway.
Offering "lower fares" and buses "every 7-10 minutes" ...
... actually every ten with a few extras to Westbury appearing now and then. A correspondent was out bus watching a few days ago and reported that First appeared to be carrying the majority of  customers.
"The One" is, arguably, Weseex's first foray into commercial bus operation in Bristol city, away from tendered work or services associated with the universities and  (service 3 and variants) with Azrec West business area. "The One" will join tendered 622 and 625 (Sundays only) at Cribbs Causeway.
It is probably reasonably easy to make money in the run-up to Spendmas; it will be interesting to see how things progress as the cold winds of January and February whistle across the bleakness of Cribbs Causeway bus station.

Will First enter a fares war, or just wait and see?
fbb dispatched a correspondent to have a look and report back.
His highly subjective and statistically inaccurate comments are as follows:-

The presentation of "The One" is generally very good.
The reliability is less than ideal
      (roadworks, also affecting First, and staff shortages)
Occasional signs of "improper" behaviour to get in front of First
Wessex doing better on Sundays 
       with a 15 min frequency matching First's
 Next bus blog : Monday 30th November 


  1. Actually that Saturday timetable is a pair of routes each every 15 minutes, with alternate 5/10 minute gaps.

    Traveline reveals that some of these gaps will be filled from Saturday week, with two additional short workings each hour between Cribbs Causeway and the city centre.

  2. As far as fares are concerned, when I travelled earlier this month I paid £3.50 (!) for a pre-0930 single from the city centre to Cribbs Causeway on First before noticing that Wessex was advertising a £3 All Day ticket on the "one"