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Author Topic: Stagecoach says Swindon passengers are paying the price for congestion  (Read 479 times)
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« on: July 03, 2018, 06:14:13 am »

From the Swindon Advertiser

BUS passengers in Swindon are paying the price for heavily-congested roads and increased journey times, Stagecoach West has warned.

The company’s own research has shown the impact congestion is having on its routes in the past 10 years.
It found that the Swindon-to-Highworth route has seen a 26 per cent rise in journey time, while Swindon-to-Oxford saw an 35 per cent increase and passengers travelling from Chippenham to Swindon found their journeys were 50 per cent longer than before.

The company says that due to the congestion, bus speeds have dropped by 10 per cent in the past two years.
It added that the decrease in speed meant an eight per cent rise in operating costs, which despite attempts to shield customers, was pushing prices up for passengers in the long run.
Stagecoach West managing director Rupert Cox said: “This is not specifically about Stagecoach, or any other bus company, it’s about the impact of congestion on bus passengers and other road users in the area and the situation simply cannot continue if we are to continue improving the local bus network and improving the local environment.

“Our passengers are paying the price for short-sighted policies that have led us to this point. We urgently need politicians to take practical action to get our towns and cities moving again.
“Buses are key to delivering this. Effective bus networks can boost the local economy, improve traffic flow, reduce air pollution and help improve air quality.
“We are playing our part by investing in improvements for customers including in digital technology, new routes and new vehicles, but we need politicians to play their part to help buses flourish. All of the tools exist for them to take action now.”

The Swindon Labour Group’s spokesperson for transport, councillor Steve Allsopp, said: “I fully support Stagecoach’s calls for more public transport infrastructure. The money necessary to do this has been cut further and further back as a result of government austerity and we need a significant rethink in Swindon and the region about how more motorists can be persuaded that public transport is a more efficient alternative of travel. We can only do this by making public transport routes more timely and punctual.”

Maureen Penny, parish councillor for Highworth, said: “I would like to see more investment in the servicing of buses so that we don’t have them coming out to Highworth to relieve one that’s broken down.
“At one time we had three buses break down in Highworth, and the buses are usually overcrowded, and they’ll put a single decker on instead of a double decker knowing it’s going to be busy at peak hours.”

Campaigners argue declining numbers of passengers is a sign that unreliable services and rising fares are having an impact.

Figures from the Department for Transport show that passengers in Swindon took 11.7 million bus journeys in 2016-17 – 430,000 fewer than in 2009-10, when figures were first recorded.
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