Severe delays on Wessex and First buses in early weeks of term

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There have been severe delays and long queues for both Wessex and First buses to and from campus since the start of the new academic year. This issue has arisen despite changes to both services being made at the beginning of the semester, including the addition of three extra First 18 services at peak times and the introduction of a slightly new route for Uniconnect’s U10 service.

Buses - BazzaDaRamblerOver the past two weeks, several complaints have been made to both the University and the Students’ Union regarding the state of the bus services to the University, with one student, James Kenny, saying, “City centre traffic is a major issue. We all know that at peak times, when traffic is the worst, the 18’s fill up in Oldfield then drive past everywhere else until campus.” He then put forward a suggestion of his own, adding, “Based on this I reckon we could send First buses along the X18 route, bypassing the city centre and the monumental amount of traffic there.”

In order to tackle the extensive queues in their morning services, First Buses are providing eight additional services on top of what they already provide, two of which will be retained at the bus station to be sent to the busiest parts of the route as and when identified. They have also had staff members based on campus, on Brougham Hayes and by Guildhall to help students using the 18 service, and have been using two double-decker buses to replace the three bendy buses which are currently being repaired.

Whilst Wessex Bus has added two extra services for the U18, the capacity of buses remains a serious issue. It has been reported that the 20A and 20C services, which cover almost all of the student areas in Bath, often do not show up at all or drive straight past bus stops because they are full. Wessex are unable to run additional 20A/20C services because they are jointly funded by the local council and therefore approval is needed if any changes are to be made to the service. This has caused problems for students not living in Oldfield Park (where the majority of bus services are available) or for those who are unable to take the U10 bus to campus, as they may not be able to catch a bus that will get them to the University in time for a 9:15am lecture.
Despite these problems, the bus situation this year is technically an improvement from previous years. University of Bath Students’ Union President Jordan Kenny told bathimpact, “There are more services this year and increased frequencies,” but also stated that it is unclear “whether or not this has made a difference”.

The state of the bus services to the University remains a major issue year after year as the student population continues to move away from Oldfield Park and spread across the different areas of Bath.

Photo credit: BozzDaRambler

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Ramiye Thavabalasingam is a former News & Comment Editor at bathimpact (2014/15). She writes about a number of University of Bath issues, as well as local Bath politics.

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