One of the Worst Things About Being Young in Bristol? The Buses.
Lucy Triggle tries to get around Bristol in a bus, fails and finds out why young people get so frustrated with the whole thing.
We’ve all, as Bristolians felt the sting of missing a bus here in Bristol. But if you’re young and it’s your only way of getting around, that can make it a bitter pill to swallow. I decided to find out what young people think of the bus service, with First operating most main routes in and around the Bristol area and what could be done to improve it.
‘…my buses have a habit of leaving before they’re scheduled to leave…’
One young person said, ‘ABus are quite good, but they only come once a hour, which is bad…’ The other comments from students and those in work are very much about the timing and amount of buses. One said, ‘I can only get one bus every half hour, and missing one means I risk being late to work’, before adding ‘my buses have a habit of leaving before they’re scheduled to leave’.
It’s easy to see why many young people have a bad relationship First, especially if the main complaint is the their inability to stick to timetables with buses either being generally late or too early. This means people are missing a bus time they know like the back of their hand.
There were some positive comments too, though. One young person I spoke to liked the introduction of leather seats on new buses as it makes for comfier travel and less vandalism. She did go on to say that she ‘would love to see buses that go ACROSS the city, instead of being centralised like the majority are’. This is true. Until recently, there were more buses that went across the whole of Bristol but now the routes are very centre-centric, coming in and out of the city, which surely causes more congestion. Many of the other people I have spoke to believe this is the case, and would like routes to less-bused areas like Hotwells. Another person I spoke to believed the 42A/43A should be reintroduced into the bus numbers, which went from Cadbury Heath to Avonmouth, a cross-centre bus that was removed as a service by First around 2009/10.
‘…would love to see buses that go ACROSS the city, instead of being centralised like the majority are’
Also increasing the number of buses per hour is something people have universally said is vital. We’ve all waited half an hour to an hour for a bus to arrive having just just missed one. If you compare First to the CT Plus services who oversee three routes where buses run every 15 minutes, you can see that frequent buses is not an impossible dream. Wessex has also been noted by young people I’ve met as a company that needs to lengthen their journeys.
The biggest complaint that everyone has noted is the price. The majority of us are either in college, university or working as apprentices, trainees or assistants, which are not well paid positions and with the high prices of First’s bus tickets it does make it more difficult for a young person to travel to where we need to go. Some have to rely on lifts to get to places because we’re watching the pennies.
So, with rising costs, late buses, overall lack of buses and their routes, I ask you is this really helping the young people of Bristol to get from A to B?
Well, is it? Do you use the buses? I do and it takes me aaaaages to get anywhere. Let us know what you think of the buses and how they could serve us better. @rifemag