Newly elected West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris and First West of England’s new Managing Director, Doug Claringbold, took the meeting room outdoors to celebrate Clean Air Day.
The pair marked their first official discussion by walking and talking around Arnos Vale Cemetery, one of a number of circular and one way walks that can be easily reached by bus, allowing people to enjoy the local environment and helping to protect it at the same time by leaving the car at home.
These include Frome Valley Walkway, Stoke Park Circular, Troopers Hill, Ashton Court, the River Avon Path, the Dramway in South Gloucestershire and Leigh Woods in North Somerset. There are also tips on where you can grab a drink or a snack to keep you going on the way.
Mayor Norris said: "We have some spectacular local walks that you can get to by just hopping on a bus. The helpful people at First have even highlighted some favourite pubs and cafes so you can stop for a refreshing drink or that all important cuppa and slice of cake! Getting outside into the fresh air and going for a walk keeps you healthy and is good fun. So, let’s leave the car at home and get exploring the many beautiful spots we have around our region."
The recent National Travel Attitudes survey from the Department for Transport confirmed that cycling and walking became much more common during the pandemic amid growing appreciation of the outdoors.
Some 34 per cent of cyclists are cycling more than they were before the pandemic, while 38 per cent of walkers are walking more. And the trend looks set to continue as restrictions are removed, with 95 per cent of those who are cycling more planning to keep it up and 94 per cent of walkers aiming to keep taking more steps.
Doug Claringbold said: “Many of our routes serve spectacular parts of the countryside in the region, taking you to the doorstep of some great walks which we know a lot of people discovered during the past year. With a bit of planning it doesn’t even have to be a circular walk as services will run right past the start and end of your day out.”
"Our message to customers is that, for a day out, the bus really is a viable alternative to the car: it lets you enjoy the scenery, contributes to cleaner travel and is great value for money especially if you buy your tickets in advance using our App. If successful, we plan to promote more routes in the wider West of England area so our customers can explore further afield."
First is slowly increasing services as it sees restrictions ease and more customers getting back on board. With many people holidaying at home this summer, it expects to see much higher demand for many of its routes, especially in popular holiday and day out destinations such as Bristol, Bath, Weston-super-Mare and Wells.
Day and group tickets are available. An Adult Bristol Day ticket is £4.50 on the First Bus app or £5 contactless on board. The Bristol Group ticket is £9 on the First Bus app and £10 contactless on board which allow up to five people unlimited travel. Both ticket types are valid from 4.30am to 4.29am the following day.
Doug added: "Our network of services link-up the major West of England staycation locations which means once you get to your destination you can explore what the neighbouring towns and cities have to offer without the need to jump back in your car."
For details of all the walks and services, visit https://www.firstbus.co.uk/bristol-bath-and-west/plan-journey/bus-walks