Bus passengers stranded in Bristol report more than 100 ‘ghost buses’ in last month

Stranded passengers reported more than 100 cases of “ghost buses” in Bristol last month as part of a new citizen science project. Darren Jones, Labor MP for Bristol North West, is collecting evidence from constituents to prove promises made by bus bosses about improving reliability.

The bill asks bus passengers whose journeys start in the Bristol North West constituency to inform the MP if their journeys were on time, delayed or a service appears on an app or digital screen at a bus stop but never appears, what is known as a ghost bus.

First Bus, the city’s largest operator, has promised that many services will become more reliable from early April. Several major routes, including the 70, 73, 73, 75 and 76, should now see buses running more frequently, but the results remain to be seen.

Read more: Buses ‘will have higher priority’ over cars along four main routes into the city center

Jones said: “For as long as I can remember, issues with bus services have been one of the biggest local concerns for people. But looking at the black and white data coming in, even I am amazed at how badly Bristol’s bus network is ruined by ghost buses. How can we expect people to leave their cars at home if they can’t trust that the bus they are waiting for really exists?

In March the MP received a total of 109 reports of ghost buses. The citizen science project continues through April and May, and passengers are encouraged to log their bus journeys on the website: darren-jones.co.uk/bus. Bristol Live is also campaigning for Better Buses in Bristol.

Jones added: “I need the public’s help to collect the data that will show whether bus companies are held accountable, and it’s not too late for riders to start recording bus trips starting today. Nothing would make me happier than to find out that our bus reliability is moving in the right direction. But let’s see what the data reveals.”


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