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MetroBus - when it finally arrrives - is just the start ...

Published on: 06 Oct 2017

HI-TECH ticket machines are to be installed at all MetroBus stops before any of the routes start operating.
Passengers will have to have a ticket before boarding to ensure the the service runs to time. MetroBus says the new iPoint devices will make the stops easily identifiable, display real-time information and enable passengers to plan their route and buy tickets.
But news that the machines are still being made and have to undergo rigorous testing has led to fears that the new transport system will be further delayed.
Already it looks likely that the first route will not start until the new year. Originally it was due in late 2016. Services on the Hengrove to North Fringe route, serving Stoke Lane and Bristol UWE and using the new M32 bus only junction, are due to come later in 2018.
Meanwhile, transport leaders from the three local authorities are looking at possible future extension of MetroBus, including a route to Yate, as part of an ambitious package of measures to improve connectivity and reduce congestion.
The West of England Combined Authority (WECA), which includes the Metro Mayor Tim Bowles and the leaders of Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset Councils,  has agreed to spend £1.2m investigating the feasibility of several schemes.
These include looking again at a park and ride at the top of the M32, which was dropped from the first phase of MetroBus works after protests from environmentalists.
WECA, formed earlier this year, is seeking evidence and investigating costs for the various schemes and says it is essential that the councils work together to achieve transport improvements.
Bristol City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Mhairi Threlfall, said: “These  innovative information points are a vital part of the way MetroBus works. Passengers must have a valid ticket before boarding the MetroBus and these iPoints can sell single journey tickets, top up and sell smartcards.   All this reduces waiting time, making MetroBus faster and more reliable.”
• MetroBus is like a tram but runs on tyres instead of rails. It uses bus lanes and guided busways and is connected to the traffic light system to ensure it moves past other vehicles.
• It is said MetroBus will reduce the journey time from Emersons Green to the city centre from 40 minutes to 29 minutes.
• Tickets will cost a maximum of £3.50 for adults, £1.75 children.

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