Monday, 7 September 2015

Service suspended

It is with regret that I announce the closure of Portishead Bus Update.

Previous posts will remain online for now, but readership levels haven't taken off in the way that they have on the sites I run for Southampton and Brentwood, so it is increasingly difficult to justify the time it takes to maintain the blog.

Coupled with that is the general poor quality of the bus services in the Avon region. I lived in Portishead for over a year and started this blog when I moved to the area, but ended up buying a car because the bus service was intolerably unreliable, slow and expensive compared to bus services in other areas of the country.

As well as the blogs previously mentioned, Great British Bus Routes will continue.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

First journeys to get slower

First have announced details of changes to routes serving Portishead from 23rd August:

X2: Will get slower due to a diversion via UWE Bower Ashton Campus on weekdays during term time. This will affect journeys towards Bristol only between 1000 and 1900.

X3: The fast bit along the Portbury Hundred will be scrapped so that the X3 can dawdle along Sheepway so that the poor little mites along there don't have to make do with two buses an hour. Will get even slower due to a diversion via UWE Bower Ashton Campus on weekdays during term time. This will affect journeys towards Bristol only between 1000 and 1900.

X5: Some journeys will be slowed down by diverting via Royal Portbury Dock. On the plus side, Sunday journeys will continue beyond Cribbs Causeway to Bristol Parkway Station and UWE.

X8: Will be curtailed to only run between Bristol and Nailsea, so it will no longer serve Portishead.

A2: Will be extended beyond Nailsea to Portishead, replacing the X8, but only once every 2 hours compared to an hourly service at present. This will provide Portishead with a direct bus link to Bristol Airport and quicker journeys to Nailsea & Backwell Railway Station as the A2 won't run round the pointless Hannah More Road loop in Nailsea.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

88 extends to Congresbury / New First website

Carmel 88 extends beyond Yatton to Congresbury from 19th July. See the new timetable here. The local route within Portishead remains unchanged.

First have revamped their website and in their wisdom have now made it impossible to find out how much the West of England Plus zone tickets cost. Some other things are now easier to look up, so it's swings and roundabouts.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

X2, X3, X8: New timetables today

Today's the day when most of our local buses have a timetable change and the X3 is rerouted.

See the new timetable for the X2 and X3 here.

  • The X3 no longer serves Sheepway, but does now serve a new stop right at the entrance to Sainsbury's Portishead.
  • We have later buses back from Bristol on Mon-Sat evenings. The last bus from Bristol Bus Station towards Portishead used to be at 2330, but there are now two extra X2 departures at 0030 and 0130 every Mon-Sat night.

See the new timetable for the X8 here.

  • A couple of evening journeys have been cut, so the last X8 from Portishead towards Nailsea now departs from the White Lion at 1840 Mon-Sats. The last bus from Nailsea towards Portishead now departs from Stockway South at 1802 on weekdays and 1754 on Saturdays.

Miss that last direct X8 from Nailsea and you'll have to get the X8 or X10 to Hotwells and then change there for the X2 or X3. All in all, the journey will take about an hour and a half compared to around half an hour for the direct service.

One does wonder whether the X8 would attract more passengers if it took advantage of Nailsea & Backwell railway station being the rail hub for Nailsea, Portishead and Clevedon. If it were possible to catch a bus to and from the station, without having to go on a big detour of Hannah More Road then the X8 would be a far more attractive option for those travelling to and from further afield. Of course it would need to run later than 6pm in order for it to be really viable, but I think some untapped potential is definitely there.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Sheepway to lose X3 / New later journeys on X2

First have released the new route details and timetables for the X2 and X3, which will take effect from Sunday 29th March.

See the timetable here.

The X3's route is changing so that it will no longer serve Sheepway, running instead direct via the Portbury Hundred.

It will also serve a new stop in the car park of Sainsbury's.

The last bus from Bristol currently leaves from the bus station at 2330 every evening. Two extra X2 journeys will run each Mon-Sat evening at 0030 and 0130, making it possible to get the bus back to Portishead after a later night out in Bristol.

Unfortunately, the X3 will still serve Phoenix Way and Newfoundland Way in Port Marine, which are frankly too narrow to run a bus along and contribute to unnecessary delays across the entire route.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

It's not just you. Portishead's live bus times don't work

Regular bus users in Portishead know only too well that the digital displays at bus stops and on some mobile apps are not at all accurate on predicting when buses will arrive in and around our town.

I myself notified First, North Somerset Council and my local councillor about it months ago - and was promptly ignored by all three.

Now it appears that there is officially a problem after all as the Bristol Post reports. The buses are tracked by the real time system using a radio signal. That signal is particularly poor in Portishead and Pill which leads to the computer just guessing where the buses are and giving us inaccurate 'live' times at bus stops and on our mobiles.

The council are planning to install a new base station for the system, which should make it more accurate.

With First's timetable change on the X2 and X3 in March designed to help solve the chronic unreliability on those routes, things should hopefully start to get better for Portishead's bus users soon.

Have you been left stranded due to misleading 'live' times on the bus stop displays? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Monday, 2 February 2015

X2/X3 new timetable from 29th March / Meet the manager online

First X2 and X3 will get a new timetable from 29th March. First are recasting the timetables on several routes in and around Bristol in order to try and make them more reliable. The Portishead routes have been particularly unreliable so hopefully the changes will work.

First are holding an online meet the manager session next Monday. Details here.