Your chance to try out the Metrobus ...
FREE rides are being offered on the Metrobus to mark the opening of the first service from Emersons Green to the city centre later this month.
The m3 route along the ring road stops at Lyde Green, Bristol & Bath Science Park, Emerald Park Industrial Estate, by the Willy Wicket pub and near the Hambrook traffic lights, before crossing the M32 to UWE. From there, it will travel through Stoke Park before joining the M32 on the new bus-only junction and heading to Cabot Circus, Broadmead and the Centre.
Passengers are being offered free journeys on the m3 route between May 29 and June 9. After that, fares will cost between £1.50 and £2.50 per journey - but tickets must be bought in advance.People can use existing First mTickets and paper variants, concessionary passes and smart cards. Tickets can also be bought at the iPoint machines being installed at Metrobus stops, using a bank card, or at a Payzone shop using cash.
Buses will run every 20 minutes from 6am until 7pm, then every half an hour until 9pm on Mondays to Saturdays during the summer. A more comprehensive winter timetable is due to be introduced by the operator in September.
A number of other local bus services are changing, to take account both of the Metrobus and the reopening of the southern viaduct on the ring road. Some service alterations came into force on April 30 while others, including the dropping of the X48 and alterations to the route of the Number 5 service, are scheduled for May 27
Although Metrobus recently unveiled a grey, black and red double-decker in Bristol, it says the m3 route buses will be green. They will have USB charging points at every seat and free wi-fi. First has spent more than £1.5 million on the m3 route vehicles, which use lower-emission Euro VI technology.
Councillor Mhairi Threlfall, Bristol City Council’s cabinet member for transport and connectivity, said: “Metrobus has already provided many benefits, from an enhanced city centre to new walking and cycling infrastructure. And, crucially, it will provide a fast, reliable, direct route from the south of the city to the north. I for one will use it and I hope many more people will join me to give it a try. The bus-only junction will also noticeably speed up the journey.”
First West of England managing director James Freeman said: “ Metrobus promises to revolutionise bus transport in Bristol and South Gloucestershire by offering a premium service, faster getting on and off, and speedier travel by virtue of the dedicated road infrastructure and off bus ticketing.”
The Metrobus project has cost an estimated £230 million and the m3 route is the first of three to get up and running. The m1 will link Hengrove Park in South Bristol to Cribbs Causeway, via Bedminster and the city centre, while the m2 will link the Long Ashton park and ride to the city centre and Temple Meads. Both are behind schedule. First will operate the m3 and m2, with Bristol Community Transport, part of the transport social enterprise HCT Group, operating the m1.