A much-needed new bus service, operated by The Big Lemon, will launch in Bath on Monday 28 November.
The Big Lemon, a community bus operator founded in Brighton in 2007, currently operates in Brighton and Bristol. It will operate three routes in Bath every Monday to Saturday, excluding bank holidays:
Route 11 – Bath Bus Station to Bathampton
Route 12 – Bath Bus Station to Haycombe Cemetery
Route 20 – University of Bath to Twerton
The West of England Combined Authority has invested £350,000, paid for by Bath and North East Somerset's transport levy, into the new supported bus service. The service will offer a range of competitively priced tickets, consistent with other bus operators in the region, for children, adults and groups of five, including day and week tickets. The Big Lemon will also accept BathRider and AvonRider tickets issued by other operators, along with concessionary Diamond Travelcards.
Due to the short timeframe for commencing the service in Bath, The Big Lemon will initially use diesel buses, while it develops a plan to transition to zero emission electric buses, which will be powered by renewable energy and owned by the community.
Councillor Sarah Warren, deputy leader and cabinet member for Climate and Sustainable Travel, said: “I am delighted that The Big Lemon is launching in Bath later this month. The company will run the much needed, and much missed, 11, 12 and 20 bus routes, which stopped operating in October, when First Bus withdrew from its contract.
“Bath & North East Somerset Council has worked incredibly hard over the past few months to develop a long-term, sustainable plan to restore our vital bus services. The Big Lemon’s ethos of providing a community focused, environmentally friendly and innovative bus service aligns perfectly with our own ambitions to not only be carbon neutral by 2030, but also ensure our local communities have an affordable and sustainable bus service.
“We are continuing to lobby the West of England Combined Authority for a resumption of the 42 service, providing a vital connection for many of our communities across the city to the hospital, and to ensure other reduced services, such as the 178, can be improved to meet the needs of residents. The recent reductions in our vital bus services across the district have had a significant detrimental impact on our local communities, especially in rural areas. It is imperative that we have reliable, frequent and direct services, if we’re to reduce social isolation and provide residents with more sustainable travel choices.”
Belinda Nicholls, Bristol Operations Manager for The Big Lemon, said: “We are very excited to be expanding our operation into Bath. The Big Lemon is passionate about providing an excellent passenger experience on all our buses and our drivers in Brighton and Bristol have become famous for their friendly and helpful service, and we look forward to bringing the same ethos to our new services in Bath.
“These are essential community routes and relied on by so many people, and it is fantastic that we can have a positive impact on their day to day lives. The feedback and comments that we have already received are heart-warming. We cannot wait to get out on the road and meet our new passengers.”
To find out more about the new service and its timetables, visit www.thebiglemon.com/bath.
Photo credit: © The Big Lemon