UWE's transport changes mean better services for local people

Issue date: 27 July 2011

bus front

Timetables on public bus routes provided by Bristol's universities are being improved in response to feedback from local people while new routes are being introduced to provide added choice for bus users from 4 September 2011.

The timetables on the most popular routes U2, U3 and U5 will run on a year round timetable, providing consistency for local users. This means that from September this year, bus timetables for these routes will remain the same outside of university term times, making these routes an attractive option for regular bus users. The routes are: U2 (UWE to City Centre via Gloucester Road); U3 (Old Market to UWE via Fishponds) and U5 (UWE to City Centre via Henleaze and Whiteladies Road).

In addition to the enhanced timetable on key routes, three new routes are being created which will provide a greater range of transport options for local people. The new U7 route will run from Frenchay Campus to Cribbs Causeway and at peak times this will be the U7A calling at Aztec West. The U8 from Bradley Stoke (starting at Woodlands Road) will go to the City Centre via the A38.

As well as these changes there will be other improvements to the services as follows:

  • Increasing the U1 to Bower Ashton to every 20 minutes
  • Increasing the U5 from Clifton to every 20 minutes
  • Increasing the U2 and U3 at weekends
  • Extending the U4 into the City Centre
  • Extending the U6 to Temple Meads at weekends.

The bus service, which is currently called 'Ulink', is to be rebranded as 'Wessex Red' to tie in with the rest of the Wessex Connect network.

  • Ulink is a swift and efficient transport link created by Bristol's two universities in 2007 in conjunction with Wessex Connect. The demand for the service has grown steadily, and these improvements will develop the service in order to meet local transport needs as well as transporting passengers from the city's two universities. The service will operate 30 vehicles at peak times, compared to 21 in 2010, and seven when the service started in 2007.
  • The number of routes has also steadily increased, from three routes in 2007, to seven routes in 2010 and from September this year there will be nine routes Between September 2010 and March 2011 the service carried 1 million passengers, the greatest number of passengers so far in a seven month period.

Speaking about the changes UWE Travel Planner Steve Ward says, “Against a background of cuts in public transport we are improving our services and their reliability for the benefit of local people. We are increasing the service rather than shrinking it and at the same time maintaining the quality of the service and the low cost. UWE is committed to making this transport as sustainable as possible and supporting the needs of the local community.

“On three key routes students travel out of the City Centre to our University campuses and when these buses travel back to the centre we want to make sure they are well used by non-students too. This makes the service more sustainable and creates an additional option for local people. As well as these service improvements all our drivers will undergo formal training in customer care and we will introduce better monitoring of services to keep customers informed of any changes or disruptions to service.”

“Another innovative and efficient improvement was introduced three years ago, when we introduced a very effective smartcard system. You scan it as you get onto the bus, which makes boarding more efficient. Passengers don't have to struggle with their change to find the right money, and it is more efficient for the driver.”

Regular users of the service who responded to a consultation on the changes have welcomed the plans and the greater number of options for bus users:

“I am a member of the public who uses the Ulink buses from the Wessex Avenue/Lockleaze Road area to Bristol Business Park. I have previously found UWE holidays to be a problem as I generally start work before 8 am. I am pleased to see that the U5 service has increased and that it appears it will run during the holidays too. It will also be convenient to be able to get to Cribbs Causeway using my UWE pass."

“I welcome this new timetable as it gives me a much wider range of options for my journeys to and from work (I am not a student). When this timetable is implemented I will use the U3 much more often than I do now and probably every day.”

“I am delighted to see that there are plans for U3 service to remain constant on weekdays, even out of term time. I am not a student but take the U3 to Frenchay from Easton daily to work, and it is problematic to arrange my workday around the limited buses when it's not term time. This academic year I have noticed an increase in members of the general public taking the U3, and I suspect keeping the same level of service year-round will make the service even more attractive.”

All Ulink buses are less than five years old and provide a clean and efficient service for passengers. There is always plenty of space for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The fares are competitive (£2.00 for a single journey and £3.00 for unlimited travel for a day). These fares are frozen for September.

Ulink smartcards, available from McColl's in the Galleries and from the Students' Union, will continue to give great discounts on travel, with a one-day ticket still just £2.50 and a single ticket only £1.67. Full details of all the services and the routes can be found at: http://www.uwe.ac.uk/transport/bus.shtml

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