It is very easy to get around London and its outskirts. But when you get to Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Plymouth, Bournemouth or Exeter, it’s another matter… There are several different companies with fewer routes or lines, different bus companies, etc…. and you might not know where to look up the times, stops or stations. So I’ll try to summarize the transport of the Southwest as best I can, to see if I can clear some things up…
The reference website for all transportation in the area is: travelwest.
In case you would like to plan a trip from one city to another, here is a website that lists the different routes or options available, with times: travelinesw.
So far we’ve covered the basics. Now I will summarize the rest:
Transport in Bristol and Bath
I have to admit that I move around the city by car, or otherwise on foot. But sometimes I’ve had to take public transport and it isn’t as bad as it looks. There are delays when it rains and if you live far from the center and miss a bus, you can waste an hour waiting for the next one. Otherwise, it’s good.
Urban routes in the metropolitan area of Bristol and Bath are managed by FirstGroup. In Bath there isn’t much to choose from; however, in Bristol you could say that we have a semi-underground, with stops at Filton, Stapleton, Lawrence Hill, Redland, Montpellier, and Bedminster, among others. The frequency may not be the same as of a real underground, but if you have a station nearby, it’s great when you have to go to Temple Meads or the other side of the town.
You can download the schedules of lines Central 4/5/6 here.
My favorite page where you can see all the bus lines in the city and their stops is BristolStreets; with its interactive map you can select the view to see all the lines, by stops or according to the operators you are interested in. The filter is very good and you have very useful options. Here you have the prices.
- Bristol: single ticket from £1 for 3 stops away to £4/day
- Bristol: weekly ticket ‘inner zone’ = £17
- Bristol: monthly ticket ‘inner zone’ = £66
- Bath: single ticket = £2.20/single or £4/day
- Bath: weekly ticket = £17
- Bath: monthly ticket = £66
- 30% discount for people under 21 and students
- More info
A map with bus routes in the city center of Bristol.
A map with bus routes in the urban area of Bristol.
NightBus in Bristol: for £3 you have an unlimited ticket to ride the bus from 19pm until 5am.
A map with bus routes in Bath.
Bristol bus connection to the airport.
For other routes and points of the city, both Bristol and Bath, consult WESSEX BUS.
Bike routes and other
If your thing is moving around Bristol by bike, select “Routes” in this interactive map.
But although there are many “routes”, when it comes to usable bike paths… there aren’t as many.
To keep up with the schedules, routes and so on, download the app by FIRST.
Want to print the times of your train or bus line? Download them here.
Transport in Cardiff
As it’s the capital, Cardiff has something to offer. If you go to another city in Wales, it gets a little worse.
As in Bristol, there are 20 stations in Cardiff within the urban area (another semi-underground / suburban) and several routes operated by FIRST. To download times and stations of the route ‘Central 3/4’ see the link.
Destinations from Cardiff: Newport, Bristol, Bath, London, Southampton, Portsmouth, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Birmingham and Nottingham:
Cardiff Bus is the company that provides bus service in the Welsh capital. The prices range from £1.80 for a single ticket to £48 for a monthly ticket.
Transport in other cities
I’m sure I’m leaving out dozens of cities with many foreigners, but this is a list of websites with basic information for other important cities of the southwest:
Bournemouth & Poole
Other sites of interest in the SouthWest area of UK
If you want to combine a train and a bus ticket, there is an option called PLUSBUS, which includes the transfer of both transports for £2-3.50/ticket or £50 monthly.
If you want to help create more bike paths in the UK, there is a charity dedicated to this.
A Map of Public Transportation in North Somerset (Portishead, Clevedon, Weston, etc).
CrossCountry (train) has routes available in Bristol, Bournemouth, Plymouth, Torquay or Cardiff.
FirstGreatWestern (train) has routes in Bristol, Swansea, Cardiff, Penzance, Plymouth, Exeter, London, etc.
South West Trains offers trips along the coast (London-Weymouth-Portsmouth), also available from Bristol and Bath.