New M4 MetroBus service (Cribbs to Bristol via Parkway) to start in January

Photo of a double decker bus outside a railway station.
An M4 MetroBus vehicle at Bristol Parkway Station. Photo credit: Weca

The new M4 MetroBus service on the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) route is to start running on Sunday 22nd January 2023, First West of England has announced.

Although originally specified as a link between The Mall at Cribbs Causeway and Bristol Parkway Station, the new service will in fact extend onwards to Bristol city centre via the University of the West of England (UWE) and the M32 motorway. To do this, the M4 buses will utilise the eastern access road out of Bristol Parkway and pass along Hunts Ground Road before heading south down the Stoke Gifford By-Pass. This is the route that First’s service 19 has taken since September 2020 following the completion of interchange improvements at the station.

Works along the M4’s new route – which include the installation of a new railway bridge and brand-new bus lanes on Gipsy Patch Lane, as well as upgrades to bus stops – have been carried out by South Gloucestershire Council thanks to £57 million of funding from the West of England Combined Authority.

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The M4 MetroBus service will run between 6am and 11pm on weekdays, with a later start at weekends. It will run every 20 minutes from Monday to Saturday, and every 30 minutes on Sundays and bank holidays.

The route will eventually serve the new YTL Bristol Arena and Brabazon mixed-use development on the former Filton Airfield.

Map showing a bus route.
Map showing the route of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME). From Baristol Parkway, the M4 MetroBus service will continue to Bristol city centre via UWE.

Buses on the M4 MetroBus service will run on biogas, using food waste as a sustainable fuel. Local bus users will also benefit from upgraded bus stops along the route with real-time information. The installation of bus shelters and iPoints (combined ticket machines and information displays), along with landscaping, will be completed over the winter.

Works for the service have included improvements at the San Andreas roundabout near The Mall, and will also include brand new roads through the Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood, being built by the developers.

Until the new roads across the airfield site are completed, the M4 buses will divert via Hayes Way and the A38.


According to a previous statement from the West of England Combined Authority, the initial service running on the CPME route will be operated on a commercial basis, i.e. it will not be subsidised by the taxpayer.

Doug Claringbold, managing director of First West of England, said:

“We’re proud to be operating the M4 and giving even more people the chance to experience the MetroBus and travel sustainably on a modern bus network. We very much welcome this investment in bus infrastructure, which is critical to the region’s transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future. Since the M3 and M2 were launched in 2018, and then the M1 in January 2019, MetroBuses have carried over 13 million passengers, despite the pandemic. These services enable faster, more direct journeys. They offer customers a cheaper and greener alternative to the car and taking the bus is a great way to support family budgets as more people consider cost saving measures.”

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Metro mayor Dan Norris, said:

“It’s positive to see progress being made on this new M4 service. Important work like the widening of Gipsy Patch Lane to install new bus lanes – fully funded by the West of England Combined Authority – has been completed and First say buses on the mM4 route will start to run in January. There are undoubtedly still serious problems on the buses and I’m conscious that too many passengers are seeing reductions in the frequency of buses and there are cancellations and delays. This is due to the driver shortage, which remains critical, but is being addressed. I have sought, and received, assurances that there is the capacity to run this new service.”

Photo of cars passing under a railway bridge.
The first vehicles pass under the new railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane. Little Stoke, after the road was reopened to two-way traffic following a closure lasting more than two years.

South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet member for regeneration, environment and strategic infrastructure, Cllr Steve Reade, said:

“The Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension is part of our commitment to improve public transport, walking and cycling facilities and the road network. This has been a flagship project for us that we have been working on for many years. Work started on the project in 2014 to provide an alternative, fast and direct bus route between Parkway Station, The Mall at Cribbs Causeway and Bristol city centre and I am very pleased that the new service will start early next year supporting our residents making the switch to public transport. I can’t wait to see this new bus service in operation helping the residents of Patchway and Stoke Gifford go about their daily lives and hopefully encouraging more people to consider bus travel.”

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Changes to other services

From the same date as the M4 launch, there will be changes to other MetroBus services. To improve punctuality, revised timetables will be introduced on M1, M2, M3/M3X services to give buses more time to complete their journeys.

There will also be some changes to other services. Service 19 (Bath – Cribbs Causeway) will start and finish at Bristol Parkway Station, with connections available to and from Cribbs Causeway at Bristol Parkway on the M4, or at UWE Frenchay Campus on both the M1 and M4. It is hoped that this will improve punctuality on this currently very long route.

Photo of a green bus.
Service 73 will terminate at Bradley Stoke from Sunday 22nd January 2023, so will no longer serve Cribbs Causeway.

Additionally, service 73 (Bristol Temple Meads – Filton – Bristol Parkway – Bradley Stoke – Cribbs Causeway) will terminate at Bradley Stoke and no longer operate to Cribbs Causeway. Most customers in the Stoke Gifford area will be able to use the new M4 to and from Cribbs Causeway, and from Bradley Stoke connections will be available on the M1 at Willow Brook Centre.

More information on the service changes will be published at

Editor’s note: It is not currently clear if the revised 73 route will continue to serve north Bradley Stoke (Bowsland Way, Trench Lane and Woodlands Lane) or terminate at the Willow Brook Centre. Enquiries have been made and this article will be updated in due course. SEE UPDATE BELOW.

Related link: M4 MetroBus Service (The Journal)

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Revised service 73 route

UPDATE added 10th December 2022.

The following statement appeared on the First West of England website on Friday 9th December 2022 (not 8th December as claimed by First):

Service 73 Bristol Temple Meads – Cribbs Causeway. “This service will no longer operate between Bradley Stoke North and Cribbs Causeway. Buses from Bristol will terminate at the Eagles Wood stop on Woodlands Lane. Customers from the Bristol Parkway and Stoke Gifford areas will be able to use new service M4 to and from Cribbs Causeway at a higher frequency. Customers from Bradley Stoke can use service M1 to reach Cribbs Causeway or change buses at the Willow Brook stop between services 73 and M1. Buses will be given more time to complete their journeys to improve punctuality. The new timetable and route map will be available soon.”

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  1. How is a bus going to get under the low underpass bridge which is under the A38 located at the end of the old runway suggested by the map for the new M4.

    1. Although it was the original plan, the bus is no longer going to use the ‘Combination Ground’ underpass (which provides access into the Airbus site). Instead it will make a ‘level’ crossing of the A38 near the new Volvo dealership.

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