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Public transport in Bristol

The majority of public transport users in the Bristol Urban Area are transported by bus, although rail has experienced growth and does play an important part, particularly in peak hours.

There were plans for a light rail system, however this has now been dropped although it remains in the Long-term local transport plan.

Bus travel

There are five main bus companies operating across the Greater Bristol area. They are First, National Express, A-Bus, Bugler's and Wessex Connect. They provide services around Bristol and in to South Gloucestershire. The University of the West of England sponsors bus services (ULink) open to the public throughout the year, which are operated by Wessex Connect.[6] National Express provides services including London, Plymouth, Glasgow and Swansea. Megabus run services to London, Newport and Cardiff. City Sightseeing Bristol operate tourist buses from late February to October.

Rail travel

The main railway stations in Bristol are Bristol Temple Meads, near the city centre, and Bristol Parkway in the northern suburb of Stoke Gifford. Although the latter is in the Bristol urban area, it is in South Gloucestershire. There are services to UK destinations from both Temple Meads and Parkway stations. There are also smaller stations across Bristol on different railway lines, including the Severn Beach Line, South Wales Main Line, Cross-Country Route, Great Western Main Line and Wessex Main Line.

There are three private rail companies that operate across the Greater Bristol area. They are First Great Western, CrossCountry and South West Trains. First Great Western operate all the local and regional services and intercity services between London Paddington and South Wales/Southwest England that pass through or terminate at Bristol. CrossCountry run cross-country intercity services that serve Bristol on routes between Southwest England and the Midlands, North of England and Scotland. South West Trains operate two services a day between Bristol Temple Meads and London Waterloo via Salisbury.

There are several local, suburban rail routes throughout Bristol but many have either been closed or seen massively reduced services. The Severn Beach line which runs from Temple Meads to Severn Beach is regarded as a particularly attractive route.

Following a successful campaign by FOSBR (Friends of Suburban Bristol Railway), the Severn Beach Line began to be served by an increased frequency from May 2008.[10] It is hoped this will pave the way for better services across the conurbation. An additional train now operates on the line meaning services average around every 40 minutes. Fares are set over two zones, and the trip from Bristol Temple Meads to Severn Beach is £3.00 return. There is, for the first time, a Sunday service to Avonmouth. The result is a service that can actually be used to commute to Bristol centre from outlying areas. Information has been improved at all the stations, from a push-button link to a computer-generated voice link, to real-time display screen. There has been a dramatic increase in passenger numbers, giving rise to complaints about not be able to buy tickets for through train journeys from the onboard train crew.

Water travel

The Bristol Ferry Boat Company operates passenger ferry boat services on Bristol Harbour in the centre of Bristol. Services are operated for the leisure market to and from both the city centre and Bristol Temple Meads railway station. Services are provided by a fleet of yellow and blue painted ferry boats.

In 2010 the city council supported commuter services formerly operated by the Bristol Ferry Boat Company were transferred to a new operator, Number Seven Boat Trips. This company also operates daily tourist services.

The Bristol Packet operates guided tours throughout the year around the harbour, and in the tourist season also downriver to Avonmouth and upstream to Beese's Tea Gardens, the Chequers Inn at Hanham and via the Kennet and Avon Navigation to Bath.

Landing stages used by all operators include:

    * City Centre
    * SS Great Britain
    * Bristol Marina
    * Mardyke
    * Hotwells-Pumphouse (for Hotwells)
    * Welsh Back
    * Castle Park
    * Temple Quay (for Bristol Temple Meads railway station)
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