Scania OmniCity in Bristol in October 2011
|Service type||Bus services|
|Hubs||University of the West of England
University of Bath
In June 2007 the bus side of the South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach was purchased by Rotala subsidiary Flights Hallmark trading as Wessex Connect. The purchase included 68 buses and was completed in stages until 31 March 2008, this being dictated by Bristol City and South Gloucestershire Councils needing to approve the transfer of the routes.
In September 2011 Wessex moved into a new depot which was a specially converted former timber yard on St Andrew's Road, Avonmouth. The move allowed Wessex to set up a new regional head office for the south west operations where all the maintenance requirements could be met. The previous depot, which was owned by South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach, was operating at near full capacity following the growth of both businesses.
A major contract included with the purchase of South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach was the University of the West of England (UWE) Student Shuttle services. The UWE Flyer service was one of the first routes that Wessex Connect ran for South Gloucestershire, and soon after the Student Shuttle and Bower Aston shuttle. From September 2007 UWE in conjunction with Rotala developed a network of routes based around linking the satellite campuses of Bower Ashton, St Matthias and Glenside, with Frenchay campus and student accommodation on a cost contract basis. The services were branded as Ulink, to provide a new high-quality low-cost bus service for students and staff.
The services had proved so popular with staff and student at UWE that the demand for the service had increased by over 100% after its first year of operation; passenger numbers in September 2008 were at around 6,000 per day.
By September 2011 the network had been re-branded as Wessex Red and had grown from three routes requiring five buses in 2007 to eight routes requiring 26, with regular duplicate vehicles in operation particularly on route U4.
In 2012 the UWE was replaced with Wessex Red branding. The network also dropped the U prefix from the routes which was replaced with a '1' (e.g. U1 became 11 etc.) in a move to make the network appeal to the ordinary traveling public and not just students. A total of seven main routes are operated, with two short services, the 11A and 13A. taking the total to nine.
Due to the success of the Uni-Connect services that Wessex operated in Bath, further services were launched duplicating existing First Somerset & Avon routes. On 27 September 2010 Wessex commenced operation of new routes 5 and 10 under the Royal Bath brand name. Running to Twerton and Southdown respectively, they are in addition to frequent services on both of those routes run by First.
On 3 October 2010 Wessex Connect took over operation of route 620 between Tebury and Bath after previous operator Cotswold Green withdrew from the route.
Park and ride
- 902 Portway park and ride under contract to Bristol City Council
- 903 Long Ashton park and ride under contract to National Car Parks
- Companies House extract company no 4327651 Flights Hallmark Limited
- History Rotala
- About Wessex Rotala
- Rotala buys in the West Midlands & South West Transit 29 June 2007 page 7
- Ambitious coach firm delighted with new base Bristol Post 14 September 2011
- UWE Flyer 2007 timetable University of the West of England 11 July 2007
- UWE Shuttles 2007 timetable University of the West of England 31 May 2007
- New Ulink service from Sep 2007 University of the West of England 2 August 2007
- UWE launches high quality low cost bus service University of the West of England 14 September 2007
- UWE expands popular student bus service Bristol Post 20 November 2008
- UWE service expands Bristol Post 30 July 2011
- New Royal Bath service launch Bath Chronicle 23 September 2012
- Bristol has got bendy buses Boris Johnson didn't want Bristol Post 6 September 2011
- First Bristol 903 timetable First Bristol
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