A NEW fast service from North Bradley, Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon to Bath was launched on Monday morning (June 1).

The new First Bus D1x service is using double decker buses to enable passengers to observe social distancing.

It will only run on weekdays, Monday to Friday, between 7.03am and 8.02pm.

The experimental service has been launched under the Government's emergency grant to enable bus passengers to maintain social distancing.

Capacity seating on the 69-seater double decker has been reduced to 21 giving more space for passengers.

Cllr Horace Prickett, portfolio holder for transport at Wiltshire Council, said: “This is a great new service and offers, with the normal D1 single decker, an approximate half-hourly service from North Bradley, Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon into Bath.

"The D1x, being a double decker, has much more space for social isolation as it only carries 21 passengers.

"This is a great replacement for the Express Service to Bath which was axed a few years ago.

"It is a case of ‘use it or lose it’ as the government funding for the journeys will be moved elsewhere if the buses run empty.

"The first indications are good, with a North Bradley resident catching the first 7am Bath bus in and a Yarnbrook resident catching the first bus back, all the way to the Manor Farm/Hitachi roundabout.”

The new service operated for the first time at 7.03am from North Bradley.

A First Bus spokesman said: "We are providing the experimental service for two weeks to see if it is popular."

When heading towards Bath, these extra buses will call at all the normal D1 bus stops as far as Christ Church at Bradford on Avon, and will then run non-stop to Bath city centre missing out Winsley Road, Winsley village and the low bridge at Limpley Stoke.

This will save some 15–20 minutes on the journey time and is designed to relieve overcrowding on the normal DI as it nears Bath.

There are three services between 7am and 10am into Bath and four returning between 3pm and 7pm.

The spokesman added: "If you normally use the D1 service to travel from this bus stop to Bath, Bradford on Avon, Trowbridge or North Bradley before 11am or after 3pm, please use the new D1x bus service whenever possible to avoid overcrowding on the ordinary D1 buses.

"Please also try to pay for your journey with a contactless bank card or purchase an M-ticket on your mobile phone.

"If you need to travel on Saturdays or Sundays, please use the normal D1 bus service."