Bus passengers enticed with leather seats and Wi-Fi
BUSES which run between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare have been fitted with leather seats and free Wi-Fi to attract more passengers to the service.
Six buses on the X1 route have been given the upgrade at a cost of £150,000. Some of the cash has also been spent on increasing the frequency of the services from every half hour to every 20 minutes.
The upgrade has been funded by 'kick start' cash obtained by North Somerset Council through the Government's Local Sustainable Transport Fund, plus money from First.
The buses are the first other than the Bristol Airport Flyer to get improvements. Others could follow if more cash can be secured from the Department for Transport's Better Bus Areas initiative.
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The cost of using the X1 service has also been cut by 5p to £6.40 a day for an adult return fare and to £7 a day for a First Day ticket, which enables passengers to use buses across the Bristol area bus network.
The express, limited stop service between Weston and Bristol takes, on average, less than an hour.
Regional commercial and business growth director for First in the South West and Wales, Marc Reddy, pictured, said: "These special touches do make a difference and we expect that both the commuters and leisure travellers using this service will appreciate the difference this makes.
"We hope customers, particularly those who live along the route of Service X1 who have not used it before, will see this as an opportunity, giving the bus a try.
"We expect people will be pleasantly surprised by all the service has to offer them."
A number of fares between key destinations have been reduced and around 26,000 homes along the route are being sent information about it, offering them a free journey on board the newly improved buses as well.
North Somerset Council executive member for transport Councillor Elfan Ap Rees said: "We hope this improvement, which is supported by our investment in dedicated bus lanes and new live information at bus stops en route, will usher in a new era of bus transport and encourage local residents and visitors to switch to regular bus travel between Weston and Bristol, avoiding congestion and parking issues as well as the increasing personal fuel costs."
More information about the service, including a map of the route and a timetable, can be found on First's website, www.firstgroup.com.