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Whether you live or work in Bath, or regularly travel to the city centre, you’ll know that our beautiful city isn’t the best for public transport.

With the arrival of the Clean Air Zone, it’s become a little trickier for travellers (particularly businesses) who need to get to Bath but aren’t keen on paying inflated parking charges or emission zone penalties.

Now, we’re clearly going to favour our innovative, budget-friendly Swoop ride-hailing service, but to give you an informed view of the options, we’ll cover here all the ways to travel to Bath!

Why Is Bath Parking and Public Transport So Bad?

There are two big questions here (which we hope to have answered!), but the reality is that Bath, as great a city as it is to live in, simply isn’t large enough to warrant a comprehensive public transport system or any real expansion on the city centre roads.

Even though Bath is the second most visited city tourist destination nationwide, there are only around 100,000 residents when the summer has passed.

That’s about a fifth of neighbouring Bristol, which makes it very hard to attract big-name ride-hailing apps or taxi firms to the city, with such a lucrative, higher populated cousin right around the corner!

However, if you need to get to college, uni, work, or one of our world-famous attractions, there are several options.

Parking in Bath City Centre

If you look hard enough, you might be lucky to snag a free parking space, although they’re only available between 8 pm and 8 am (you’ll be very fortunate to find any free daytime parking!).

Visitors and workers can use Broad Street, Avon Street, Charlotte Street or Manvers Street car parks for free, but that’s only applicable if you work a night shift.

Street parking is even more unusual, but you might be able to locate a space on Cleveland Walk (about 0.8 miles from the centre) or Milton Avenue (0.9 miles) – that’s around a 20-minute walk, so fine if you have comfy shoes, but not so suitable for many.

The issue with street parking is that it’s equally only free during unsociable hours – mostly from 7 pm to 8 am or only on Sundays; not quite so handy if you have a meeting to get to!

Otherwise, you’re stuck with a paid-for space during the day, and you’ll pay as follows:

Bath Car Park

Two hours

Three hours

Four hours

Six hours

Eight hours

Twelve hours

Avon Street

£3.20

£4.80

£6.40

£9.60

£12.80

£15.00

Charlotte Street

N/A

N/A

£6.40

£9.60

N/A

£15

Broad Street

£3.20

£4.80

£6.40

N/A

N/A

N/A

Manvers Street

£3.20

£4.80

£6.40

£9.60

£12.80

£15.00

 

Spending a day sightseeing gets pretty expensive if you’re paying £15 or above for parking (plus fuel), and some of the short-stay car parks don’t permit you to keep your car there for over four or six hours, so choose wisely!

You can review all the up-to-date parking charges via the Bath & North East Somerset Council website.

Travelling to Bath by Train

Our next option is to take the train – almost certainly your go-to if you are visiting from further afield!

The downside is that you have one choice and one only – Bath Spa.

Only one railway travels here (Great Western) although you can travel from London Paddington, Portsmouth Harbour and Cardiff Central.

There are also tons of connections with Bristol, so Bath acts as a stop-gap because you can be in Bristol in about ten minutes, delays and cancellations notwithstanding.

Unfortunately, train travel is only possible if you’re coming from elsewhere outside the city; there are no intra-city trains or metros, connection routes or tubes, so it’s impossible to get into Bath by train without needing an onward solution.

If you’re interested in walking, it’s only about half a mile into the centre, which takes around ten minutes depending on the weather and where you’re heading.

Coach Travel Into Bath

The other potential option is to use the National Express coach system, with the bus station relatively close to the train station, but the same limitations apply.

You can take a coach from Bristol, Reading, Exeter, Plymouth or London Victoria, but it’ll take several hours longer than a train, and you’ll still need to take a walk or taxi to get to the city centre.

Booking a Cab Into Bath City Centre

Our most convenient option is to order a taxi, but there is a huge demand for a small number of cab companies (you won’t find the likes of Uber or Lyft in such a small city!).

The Fare Car service is a great choice for budget-conscious travellers.

Still, it is massively limited, with bookings required by a cut-off and only one route and drop-off and pick-up point, which makes it suitable only for people who happen to live or work in the immediate vicinity and along the route.

Over the last two years, a shortage of experienced local drivers, closure of cab firms and ever-inflating prices have made it difficult to take a taxi in Bath.

If you’re a regular visitor, you’ll be familiar with the lengthy taxi rank queues that don’t bode well if you’re on a time limit!

Swoop – the New Bath Ride-Hailing System

We live in Bath and love everything about our historic, laid-back city – but the transport situation needed something fresh!

Welcome Swoop, a forward-thinking taxi app that works just like those super-convenient services you’ll find elsewhere but specific to Bath and the local Somerset area.

Why is Swoop better than another other public transport option?

  • You get a verified, vetted driver, door to door.
  • Book your cab line – no phone calls or queues to speak of.
  • Convenient payments; pay with a card, PayPal or Apple Pay as suits you best.

Although Bath has long been a brilliant destination, it’s also been a nightmare for travellers, and we’re proud to have developed a solution suited to the needs of our small but mighty city.

Next time you’re comparing train fares, scouting around for a pricey parking space or deciding whether to take the long walk from the bus station, why not Swoop instead – we’re confident it’ll be the best option going.

Simply download the app, register, and book a SWOOP ride at your leisure.

Download SWOOP Taxis on Google Play
Download SWOOP Taxis on App Store

Simply download the app, register, and book a SWOOP ride at your leisure.

Download SWOOP Taxis on Google Play
Download SWOOP Taxis on App Store