Sunday 29 December 2013

Council check: Bath & North East Somerset

Welcome to a new series of posts which will look at how good our local councils are at imparting information about buses on their patch.

We start with BANES, or Bath and North East Somerset.

Where do the buses go?

There's a map of bus stops in Bath City Centre, but not a wider map of the wider borough showing where the routes run. BANES is covered by TravelWest, which acts like half a northern-style PTE covering the former county of Avon. Maybe they can help:

But alas, this page on TravelWest just takes you back to BANES council:

...with no borough-wide bus map.

This leaves you with having to use First's maps, which don't feature the other operators. The council doesn't seem to want you to know about the other operator's services, even where they subsidise them.

You can get a full list of bus services in any part of BANES only from Traveline South West, but this is hardly clear from the council's website.

In this category, BANES is awarded 1 point out of 5.


These are only provided by BANES for the routes that they directly subsidise, which by definition leaves out the routes that most passengers need to use. They have a list of timetable changes, but for the timetables themselves, you have to go to the operator's website (assuming you know who operates the route you need to use) or Traveline South West, which will save many a council in this survey from a zero rating. TravelWest doesn't do timetables either.

BANES scores 2 out of 5 for timetables, because they are available at Traveline and they do link there.

How much does a journey cost?

Information like this is basic and should be in the public domain. But bus companies and councils don't seem to want you to know in advance how much a single journey will cost.

The bus operators' own sites will give you prices for their own tickets that are valid for a day or longer. If you need to use several operators in one day, they BANES offers you the BathRider ticket. They also mention the Freedom Travelpass, which is valid over a wider area and also on trains. They also mention Plusbus.

AvonRider is valid on all operators throughout what was Avon, but BANES don't tell you about it. TravelWest do, but the page is rather hidden away - you won't find it under 'Fares'.

For fares information, BANES scores 2 out of 5.


So, no timetables but they can be found on Traveline. No all-operator map at all. There is a range of multi-operator tickets, but BANES ignores one of the three types available. The presence of TravelWest promises more help than it delivers.

BANES scores a total of 5 out of 15.


  1. seems like a perfect example of deregulation too me

  2. Perfect in what way? It's not easy for residents or visitors to find out what's on offer. The bus companies will be losing out on customers because of this, so it's not perfect for them either.

    1. Yes that's why I have a car,and it's a perfect example of deregulation as shown in many areas of the United Kingdom,where there is no joined up thinking and the public suffer as a result. You have too go from pillar to post for information.

    2. @ Anonymous 18:33 - This has got nothing to do with deregulation! It has everything to do with the willingness of BANES council to aggregate public transport information in its area. There are other county councils in the UK that manage to do it perfectly well, so the question is why is BANES unable, or unwilling, to follow their good examples?

    3. The BANES score of 5 out of 15 seems very generous in relation as too what seems to be provided for the general public in the ease of trying too obtain information.

  3. To Anonybus 2008. Perhaps Bath and North East Somerset Council feel their money is better spent on other projects in the area. Who knows?

  4. It is pretty much the norm across the country , trying to find out proper information is very difficult if not impossible with service changes it is normally far worse with no real advance information, If you are lucky you may find some vague references to the changes but no detail and no new timetable. They usually appear after the service has changed and in many cases you have no idea whether it is the old or the new timetable. Bus companies treat service changes as classified information. For fares information forget it. It is a black art

    VOSA is just as bad. In theory the operators are supposed to give 56 days notice. In practice most changes are made as short notice changes and VOSA just nods them through. There is even the practice of retrospective changes being nodded through as for enforcement of the regulation you can forget VOSA they just don't bother

    1. Quite agree,VOSA is a waste of space.


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