New bus timetables being introduced due to “unprecedented” driver shortage

Temporary changes to bus services in Bath are being brought in from Sunday 31st October following what has been described by First West of England as “unprecedented driver shortages”.

Photo © Jon Craig

Most of the changes involve a reduction in the frequency with which some services will run, with two services also being withdrawn on Saturdays.

The new timetables, which will continue until further notice, have been agreed with the West of England Combined Authority, as transport authority for the region.

Doug Claringbold, Managing Director of First West of England, said: “Due to the current driver shortage we have taken the difficult, but necessary, decision to put in place a temporary service change in Bath while we deal with this.

“I cannot emphasise enough to passengers that very few services in Bath are being withdrawn. We are simply reducing the frequency of some services to ensure Bath residents receive the very best possible service available under these exceptional circumstances.

“By publicising these changes in advance we want to give our customers the chance to amend their plans accordingly.”

First West of England says it has been working hard to recruit new drivers into the business in order to help services return back to normal.

Doug continued: “Bus drivers are essential workers and played a pivotal role during lockdown.

“Since then, however, we have seen some drivers leave the business and fewer people come forward to take up those vacancies, so I would urge anyone who is looking for work and would consider a career as a driver with First West of England to get in touch as soon as possible to find out what we offer in terms of benefits and flexible opportunities.

“I would also like to personally thank all our drivers for working so hard and also remind customers that our colleagues are not to blame for the current disruption, so please treat them with respect as we work to overcome this challenge.”

The service changes in Bath are as follows:

  • 1 – frequency will reduce from every 10 minutes to every 15 minutes (Monday-Saturday) with the Sunday frequency reduced from every 20 to every 30 minutes. Service 1 will also move back into the bus station as its final destination.
  • 3/3a – service 3a will be withdrawn on Saturdays and run just as service 3, which will run every 20 minutes and additionally serve Elmhurst. Saturday reduction in frequency from every 15 to every 20 minutes.
  • 4 – frequency will reduce to every 30 minutes (Monday-Saturday) and will extend to Upper Weston. A combined every 15 minute frequency will operate between Bear Flat and Upper Weston.
  • 4a – frequency will reduce from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes (all days). A combined every 15 minute frequency will operate between Bear Flat and Upper Weston.
  • 5 – frequency will reduce from every 10 minutes to every 15 minutes (Monday to Saturday, there are no changes on a Sunday). Service 5 will also move back into the bus station as its final destination.
  • U5 – frequency will reduce from every 10 minutes to every 15 minutes (Monday-Friday).
  • X39 – frequency off-peak will reduce to every 20 minutes.
  • D1x – all off peak journeys will be withdrawn (Monday-Friday) and all journeys will be withdrawn on Saturdays.
  • D2 – frequency off-peak will reduce to every 60 minutes (Monday-Friday) and all day on Saturday.

Bath Echo