Frustration at delays caused by bus driver changeovers on busy road

Photo of a bus waiting at a stop on a busy road.
A Stagecoach no. 10 bus holding up traffic on Hatchet Road, Stoke Gifford.

The Journal has been contacted by several readers who say they are becoming increasingly frustrated at having to wait in lengthy traffic queues behind Stagecoach buses parked for extended periods at the stops near Meade Park on Hatchet Road, Stoke Gifford (see one such letter, below).

The buses regularly wait there for several minutes, during which time no passengers are seen getting on or off. In some cases, the vehicle appears to have been left without a driver.

Traffic on the busy road quickly builds up behind the parked buses and motorists can be tempted into making risking overtaking manoeuvres to get around the obstacle.

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Locals who regularly walk along the road have observed Stagecoach bus drivers ‘handing over’ at the stops, with the incoming driver often having waited in the car park within Meade Park for the bus to arrive.

Once having taken control of the bus, the new driver takes time ‘filling out paperwork’ before eventually setting off.

A comment on a post in a local online forum spoke of an incident in which two buses were parked diagonally across from each other at the Meade Park stops, “both driverless with hazards on”, creating chaos for both motorists and pedestrians waiting to use the nearby crossing.

As we went to press, we received this brief statement from the West of England Combined Authority (Weca), which now has responsibility for issues relating to public transport:

“Stagecoach has moved its driver changeover to the Hatchet Road bus stop instead of Gipsy Patch Lane because of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension works. Weca is talking to Stagecoach to see whether there are any possible alternative options for driver changeover while the works are in place on Gipsy Patch Lane.”

Stagecoach has been contacted for comment.


Reader’s letter

Dear Sir,

For many months now I have wanted to complain about buses, both single- and double-decker, stopping at the ‘Winterbourne Road’ bus stop [on Hatchet Road], on both sides of the road, to change drivers. I have held off as I was hoping that the situation would change with the opening of the Gipsy Patch Lane railway bridge, however it has not!

Hatchet Road, as you probably know is a very busy, single lane either way, road, and has three sets of traffic lights as well as a roundabout and a mini-roundabout between Gipsy Patch Lane and Parkway. It also has the use of cars at school starting and ending times to increase the amount of use, as well as work traffic morning and evenings heading to and from MoD, Aviva and Parkway.

My complaint is that the bus services use the above-mentioned bus stops to stop, put on the flashing blinkers and change drivers. Sometimes the drivers are waiting to change, other times you see the new driver strolling along the pavement, sometimes using the pedestrian lights, which again holds up traffic, to get to the cab and change drivers. What then makes the situation worse is that the new driver then gets into the driving seat and proceeds to fill in whatever paperwork they must need for their new shift. Meanwhile traffic is being held up back to the Tesco mini-roundabout and back to the Gipsy Patch Lane roundabout, depending on which side of the road the bus is stopped. At busy times, the queues are even longer.

It is not good enough when there are bus stops with lay-bys, and Bristol Parkway which they can use to change drivers, without causing any delay to Hatchet Road traffic.

Something needs to be enforced on the bus services to find a changeover point that will not cause the delays, and also avoid the fact that some drivers try to find a gap in the incoming traffic, to quickly overtake the stopped bus on the wrong side of the road, which has the possibility of causing a nasty accident.

Martin Sims, Stoke Gifford

This article (and letter) originally appeared in the October 2021 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on page 21). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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  1. I have been wondering why this was happening on my journey home from work, I thought perhaps bus broken down!
    They park on each side of a very busy road sometimes going back as far as roundabout causing an obstruction and frustration
    This needs to be urgently reviewed!

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