BUSES between Yate and Bristol are on the right road to success after major changes to the route, the regional managing director of First has claimed.

Justin Davies told members of South Gloucestershire Council’s transport select committee that his firm had expected some problems since the timetable changes in August.

He said: "We were expecting a settling down period to have occurred and we are now reviewing some of the times.

"We would always expect some problems and it maybe some changes are necessary.

"It is an interesting period in Yate but things are settling down on the X42 and 342 services."

In the summer, regular passengers were furious when First announced it would axe all its express services between Yate and the city.

Following public consultation, the company made a dramatic U-turn and announced it would keep the motorway buses in operation.

Mr Davies said a double-decker bus had been launched on the early morning X42 commuter service, which was full of passengers almost every day.

However, he admitted there were some timing issues with the turnaround of the 342 service at Yate Bus Station.

"We are looking at adding more turnaround time in the Yate area," he said.

"We will also look at the times services leave Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath."

Mr Davies was responding to complaints from councillors that buses did not run at useful times for passengers to get into Bristol.

Committee chairman Cllr Pat Hockey, who lives in Frampton Cotterell and regularly uses buses into the city, said: "Quite a few problems have been relayed to me, particularly that people are finding it very difficult to get to hospital appointments on the hour because buses are not timed right.

"In Frampton Cotterell many people have to walk a mile to get to the bus stop.

"I use the 327 and 342 services regularly and have yet to travel on either when the bus is less than 10 minutes late.

"The problem does not seem to be traffic, it is the fact that they stop at stop after stop."

Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Westerleigh) said: "The service is less reliable.

"People are less inclined to use it."

Mr Davies said under new regulations set by the traffic commissioner, First was working extremely hard to meet 95 percent targets for all company bus times.

He said: "We cannot be more than five minutes late or more than one minute early.

"That 95 percent is an absolute demand and we will be seeking to do that in a number of different ways including additional resources."

He said £600,000 of investment was being spent on new vehicles and more drivers.

Mr Davies pledged that many buses in Yate’s dilapidating fleet would be replaced next year. He said three-year-old vehicles would be used in the area following an upgrade in other parts of the region.