Bristol MetroBus: buses ordered, initial operator named

The three councils developing the MetroBus bus rapid transit (BRT) network in Bristol have confirmed that First West of England will operate the launch commercial service on the first line ‘as soon as infrastructure works are completed and roadside facilities are installed’.

Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset councils say that First has ordered the dual-door buses required and that they will be delivered ‘well before’ the initial service starts between Ashton Vale park-&- ride and Temple Meads.

They say that the bus guideway and associated cycle and pedestrian track is well under construction, the skew bridge that guides MetroBus over the Bristol-Portishead railway and under the elevated section of A370 trunk road is complete. The £3.8million refurbishment of Ashton Avenue bridge is finished and it is open to pedestrians and cyclists, and work is progressing well on a second bridge at Bathurst Basin.

‘MetroBus marks the start of an exciting new era for public transport in and around Bristol, with even lower-emission vehicles, faster boarding and dedicated sections of priority highway,’ says First West of England managing director James Freeman.

‘It will be an entirely new way of travelling, with one of the main features that the public will notice being that MetroBus only offers off-bus ticketing, which means that customers will buy their tickets before they board the vehicle which will result in a noticeably faster journey.’

More announcements of MetroBus operators and vehicles are expected over the summer. All services on the eventual 92-stop network will be provided commercially under quality partnership arrangements with the councils.