Sunday 23 March 2014

Council check: Bristol City Council

Each Sunday we review how one of our local councils provides information on public transport. Today it's the turn of Bristol City Council.

Where do the buses go?

Bristol is part of the area covered by TravelWest and it is there that they send you for bus info. There you'll find a section with bus maps, including this one for the city of Bristol and a city centre enlargement showing all routes by all operators. 5 out of 5.


TravelWest doesn't include much in the way of timetables, but there are links to all of the operators' sites. Thanks to the map mentioned above, novices can easily find out who runs the route they need to use. Bristol's own site includes direct links to the timetable pages of the two biggest operators in the city, First and Wessex Connect. As if that wasn't enough, TravelWest also mentions Traveline South West, on which you can see a list of all buses serving Bristol with route maps and timetables. 4 out of 5.


There's a link from Bristol Council to First's page about their revamped fares in the city, although that of course doesn't cover other operators. TravelWest has info on the BristolRider and AvonRider multi-operator tickets, but it's not in the Bus section of the website. There's also a multi-modal ticket, the Freedom Travelpass, available for bus and train, but neither the council nor TravelWest tell you about it. The best place to find out about that ticket is on First's website. The council and TravelWest have also forgotten to mention the Bristol Plusbus ticket. 2 out of 5.


So we have a decent map that's easy to use. Timetables aren't too difficult to find, but ticket information is patchy and incomplete unless you know which operator's site to refer to. Bristol City Council scores a total of 11 out of 15.


  1. Passengers though do not want to go al over the paces to find timetables nor do they want to phone up to find fares information. Bus companies still have a very long way to go on customer service, To most it is still an alien concept

  2. So how do we encourage them to do that then?

  3. Anonymous (3) here.

    Perhaps you stop looking at buses as a unique commodity and as something in which the customer has a choice. If I drive my car I know how much the fuel is going to cost (and I knew the price of the car when I bought it). Mine is on a service plan so I know how much that is going to cost and I have a reasonable idea of annual insurance reduction and road tax increase.

    I do into hospital on Thursday and will not be able to drive for a month. Do I know how much it costs to catch a bus from my town to somewhere else? No, yet a fares chart in the bus shelter - with the time table that is already there - will mean that I do know. Some note as to say whether I will get change or if debit cars are accepted will also help. As it is I shall stay at home and go nowhere - because I want certainty.

    This certainty is not helped by a hospital advertising a Park and Ride service yet not including details of times. Perhaps it is because they arranged my 45 minute appointment to start 5 minutes after the last bus had left for the evening! When that happens you need certainty for the next time you think about a bus.


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