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Author Topic: Webinar - 29.1.2021 / TravelWatch SouthWest - TOWN CENTRES - my meeting report  (Read 1008 times)
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« on: January 30, 2021, 10:15:09 am »

Webinar - 29.1.2021 / TravelWatch SouthWest - my meeting report

What is our vision for town centres going forward? Are there places where enough common ground exists to execute a plan which will work for the communities going forward?  Swindon has a plan - could part of it work for you?

The following is written up from my notes as I understood what was being said, and with best efforts to be accurate, complete, and in the spirit of the message of each speaker. If there are any clarifications / corrections, please let me know and I will address them within 24 hours of hearing from you.

Chris Irwin (Chair)
Build Back Better
Principles / how to get people to things they like
High Steet Revival funding - Swindon £25m + loads others TRO» (Trowbridge - next trains), YEO, TAU» (Taunton - next trains) etc
Some, but not all addressing public transport integration.

Swindon - bus Bvd.
Swindon local paper - quite a lot of hostility in comment ...
"Dirty buses, lack of car access, town centre dying so why"
Also rural access issues

Paddy Bradley - SWLEP Chair
Agreed to fund new bus facilities
Reuse of old station (had been temporary?) for new office (Zurich?) building
Changing to a bus boulevard

Looking for vibrant use
Current Underpass has not been ideal although businesses such as Greggs do very well
Future - level off and include links into rail station.
Ultimate is need to bring more business into centre

Town Centre rated "top quality" on various counts but leisure offering poor.
Leisure offering drops down off scale and centre is dead at night
For the route to refresh in which transport links are vital

Andrew Wickham - Go South Coast (Thamesdown / Salisbury Red)
Lots of support for safe, cohesive system
cynical on local paper comments - opinions often groundless rubbish
Sad that Swindon did not win all electric bus town trials that went to Oxford and Coventy
Buses largely empty at present BUT Swindon much higher proportional use than elsewehre
Town centre is not at best. Need to add leisure to retail

Access to Swindon for 30-40 years has been poorer / car only
New builds on the outskirts unusable by public transport
Want back to commercial as soon as possible

Bill McCartney Stagecoach
Swindon suffers from out of town centres AOK for cars but bus access poor
Needs better presence in town centre and NOT just a lick of paint on old bus station
New facility really needed - not a makeover of the 80s facility

? How does Oxford work ?
Benefit is that Oxford is car unfriendly
Bus and cycle there is best
More frequent and safe public transport
- note that parking and driving in Oxford expensive, difficuly; relatively cheap and easy in Swindon

Barclay Davies
Fear of car lead recovery
That woudl not be good for CO2 or none-drivers
Need to take a big view of all centres but put transport as a key element

Kit Harbottle
Stops ALL along bus route need to be "good" not just at centres
e.g. safe, seats, information, clean, etc.
Poor "outer" facilities put people off
BUT who actually looks after bus stops?

David Phillips
Bus Shelters - silo of reponsibilities and no easy answer
Also and expectation of quality which is above what can / could be provided
e.g. TransWilts Express .. people don't like diesel. Dont like ride over / past roundabouts

Ian Harrison
Have to build and get return of patronage
Example Jurassic Coast - funded to start and try service
Some sections sound / commercial. Weaker failed as initial funding no longer there
It is also about where people want to be so ..
High Street funding is right

Phil Groocock
Bus stop responsibility differs by area
History (and lobg history) is one of the reasons
No clear defifintion
SUGGEST start at Parish Council then move up chain to district, then county
External sources sometime available
Someone has to take ownership
Developers fund builds only and that leads to issue with "who then looks after it" when they are gone

David Redgewell
Problems of disability access.
Need bus borders or Castel Curbs
WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) responsible for stops in their area
need a BSRG - bus servece recovery grant - 18 months; may be coming

Mike Lambden
Sponsorship issues; need for bigger bus stations.
Noting Richard Gamble's excellent promotion for Community Bus Partnerships ("CBP")
Buses need to be "sold" ... if you can find users to do so!

Tony Reese
Keen on partnerships; stations / CRPs (Community Rail Partnership) have taken off
Zero uptake on buses.

Andrew Wickham
Offer to work with / help Community Bus Partneships
Chris Irwin
How can we link?

Paddy Bradbury
Need to get [??] lower emissions. Just Coming
Hydrogen expansion - looking longer distance SAL and BRI» (Bristol Temple Meads - next trains) - SWI» (Swindon - next trains) - OXF» (Oxford - next trains)
Signals lower emissions being taken seriously.

Phil Groocock
Derived demand; shops closing and online shopping
Struggle targetting people to use.
Need things that people want to come.

-- A lot of notes there; fast moving meeting to read in line with substantive comments on chat:

Catherine Mack to Everyone (3:34 pm)
So far Boris and Co have committed £270m to dualling a bit of the much for carbon emissions reduction. No mention in the plansfor walking, cycling, local links etc.

Mike Reddaway to Everyone (3:36 pm)
Ashford (Kent) converted a length of busy dual carriageway to shared space. Initially much opposition but both drivers and pedestrians got used to it.

Catherine Mack to Everyone (3:37 pm)
reassuring Mike - the transport dinosaurs always react defensively to suggestions of change!

Andrew Wickham to Everyone (3:39 pm)
Sorry Paddy - Swindon's Bus Company is the main operator in Swindon, along with Stagecoach. Salisbury Reds does run into Swindon. None of these are owned by First Group! [correcting speaker]

David Redgewell to Everyone (3:40 pm)
first group run the trains in Swindon Gwr and Go head group run.swindon buses and Salisbury reds and stagecoach west
Great western railway is First Great western Trains limited Swindon

Mike Lambden to Everyone (3:42 pm)
Milton Keynes has for many years had a bus arrangement very similar to what has been described for Swindon.

David Redgewell to Everyone (3:43 pm)
Exeter has bus in its high street

Catherine Mack to Everyone (3:43 pm)
Can we hear about plans to link up the sprawling area of Swindon's industrial area - at present barely accessible by bus despite its high levels of employment.

David Redgewell to Everyone (3:43 pm)
city buses
Cheltenham High street and promenade and royal well.all the rebuilt by Gloucestershire county council
Taunton Town centre needs a bus interchange in the Town centre

Jasper Selwyn to Everyone (3:45 pm)
Lots of cities have pedestrian streets with bus access.  Good environment for shoppers and tourists, but watch out for buses!  You can get much closer to the shop you want on a bus than in your car.

David Redgewell to Everyone (3:46 pm)
Bristol and weca are planning a bus interchange in The Haymarket

James White to Everyone (3:46 pm)
Swindon town centre's real challenge is the Outlet Village, Mannington Retail Park and the other edge of town shopping centres providing very little incentive to head into the centre of town.

David Redgewell to Everyone (3:47 pm)
buses are being used in the centre of Bournemouth for the vaccinations centre at the Bic

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (3:48 pm)
Who has communities that don't want High Street bus presence

Sue Glenn to Everyone (3:48 pm)
need to accommodate those who need nearby accessible parking Blue Badge Parking.

Tim Dumper to Everyone (3:48 pm)
We do need some reregulation of buses to make sure these housing areas etc are properly served. Subsidy will need expansion to build back bus usage in wake of pandemic

Mike Reddaway to Everyone (3:50 pm)
Exeter's new bus station is now visible but not yet open. Looks good but perhaps not big enough.

Catherine Mack to Everyone (3:51 pm)
Bus stations should surely now be transport interchanges, designed to meet access needs.

Dick Daniel to Everyone (3:51 pm)
Back-bone of trams integrated with the bus network works well in many cities.
How about getting trams in Swindon ?

Colin Divall to Everyone (3:51 pm)
Should we be talking about *bus* stations? Shouldn't they be mobility or accessibility hubs - bike hire etc on tap?

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (3:51 pm)
It seems important that the Transport Planners are given strength from Councillors support to their expertise with a long vision

Kit Harbottle (Transition Tavistock) to Everyone (3:51 pm)
This checklist from Transport for New Homes should be pinned above every town planner and developer's desk - sadly results suggest it's not.

Graham Parkhurst to Everyone (3:52 pm)
50%+ of trips into central Oxford are by bus. That is the most important mode in transport policy. That is near-unique in the UK (United Kingdom).

Andy Burkitt to Everyone (3:52 pm)
Bryony - spot on!

Kit Harbottle (Transition Tavistock) to Everyone (3:53 pm)
Bus attractiveness is not just about bus station being pleasant / secure. The quality of bus stops all along the route matters too. Some in rural areas are no more than a pole in a hedge.

Andrew Wickham to Everyone (3:53 pm)
Kit and Bryony - agreed!

Mike Lambden to Everyone (3:54 pm)
This could be seen as a major threat to town centres. as it would allow conversion of retail space into residential.

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (3:54 pm)
Bus needs to be integral to the Zero carbon strategy and that connection PT provides with the central attraction is vital

Tim Dumper to Everyone (3:54 pm)
Even in smaller towns with little advertising spend, we have serious problems with provision of quality bus shelters

Sue Stevens to Everyone (3:55 pm)
Unfortunately transport hubs often appear less friendly and less comfortable than bus stations - from rural areas people want to travel to town and be warm and out of the cold

Sue Stevens to Everyone (3:56 pm)
I agree wholeheartedly with Kit

Cllr.Loretta Whetlor to Everyone (3:57 pm)
You need to have a thriving town centre to encourage people to use public transport. Especially coming from a rural area where the bus could take one and.a half hours to get into the town. That is 3 hours in a day when a car takes about 45 minutes each way.

Mike Reddaway to Everyone (3:58 pm)
Converting retail to residential might revive city centres as there'll be people there all the time still needing some retail.

Phil Groocock to Everyone (3:58 pm)
For bus stop improvements, go first to the Parish Council - they can then decide whether to fund it themselves or ask the County Council to fund (or look for external funding).

David Redgewell to Everyone (3:58 pm)
Gloucestershire in Gloucester and Cheltenham maintenance bus stops and shelter s
and weca mayoral transport authority and North Somerset maintain all bus shelters

Sue Stevens to Everyone (4:00 pm)
Exeter Council Is considering making the apron of the old bus station into a market place.

Jasper Selwyn to Everyone (4:00 pm)
TransWilts "Express" stops have a standard format which does make the service look more attractive than others.  Only Express because there is little habitation between Devizes and Beckhampton (9 miles). though it deviates to Bishop's Cannings, well off the main road.

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (4:00 pm)
Sue Stevens that is hopeful

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:02 pm)
chis the fund for the bus service and bus operators recovery grant and partnership is the next issue about bus service s

Philip  Sankey to Everyone (4:03 pm)
Charmouth has a 'memorial' bus shelter enabled by the Parish Council

Kit Harbottle (Transition Tavistock) to Everyone (4:03 pm)
Tynemouth metro station is a great example of transport interchange hosting attractive market.

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:04 pm)
Coaches is an issue in Exeter city centre still need a terminal

Mike Lambden to Everyone (4:05 pm)
There is community involvement in many railway stations so why not bus stops and shelters?

Catherine Mack to Everyone (4:05 pm)
All these schemes for reducing town centre traffic must surely follow the "hierarchy" .

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (4:05 pm)
so door to door access for all is a principle we must carry through to the high street

James White to Everyone (4:06 pm)
Loretta's point is key re you need thriving town centres.  You can have the best possible bus services, bus station/interchange but you still need to want to travel there!

Dick Daniel to Everyone (4:06 pm)
Trams are particularly good at mixing with people in streets as people know were they are going as they are on rails.

Horace Prickett to Everyone (4:07 pm)
Phil is quite right about approaching the parish or town council first.  The councillors there all have a 'vested interest' in keep the travellers happy if they want to get re-elected.  Also, all community areas have a Community Area Transport Group (CATG) with funds to help improve transport who will listen to approaches from parish/town councils and public transport improvements.

Jasper Selwyn to Everyone (4:07 pm)
Germans are disciplined and only cross the road when the pedestrian lights are green!

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (4:08 pm)
If buses cannot reach the high street we will have greater peripheral car congestion.  This is like a no go ring for the longer distance active traveller and puts off shared transport users

Andrew Wickham to Everyone (4:08 pm)
David's right. it's also vital that bus stops are kept free from other vehicles parking in them, so buses can get close to the kerb to maintain accessibility.

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (4:08 pm)
Bus gates?  Worth the money for the benefit

Kit Harbottle (Transition Tavistock) to Everyone (4:09 pm)
Re trams - the rails are hazardous for cyclists, so needs a holistic approach with segregated cycle lanes.

Colin Divall to Everyone (4:09 pm)
Certainly worked in York when I worked there.

Ian Harrison to Everyone (4:10 pm)
A tramway is an indication of a long term commitment to public transport - makes it easy for all to plan around it. The difference is that buses offer less certainty of the long term commitment ( as well as less certainty about where they will be across the width of a shopping street).

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (4:11 pm)
Could we paint lines on the pavement Ian Harrison?

Dick Daniel to Everyone (4:11 pm)
Many European cities have lots of cyclists mixing with trams, and their streets are a lot more pleasant than having them full of cars.

Me to Everyone (4:11 pm)
But … 100 bus stops and 1 rail station per town; very hard to get passenger interest away from just own route and stop [On Bus community partnerships]

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (4:12 pm)
A blue badge requires inability to travel over 50 metres unaided

Paddy Bradley to Everyone (4:12 pm)
Agree fully with Richard's point about selling the product

Andy Burkitt to Everyone (4:12 pm)
Sad to hear - yet again - that trams are hazardous to the poor British cyclist - just sorry they are so much thicker than European ones!

david.phillips to Everyone (4:12 pm)
Does the bus industry feel that local authorities don't listen to them?

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:12 pm)
Somerset county council do not want to fund buses to the racecourse vaccinations centre just the private car in Taunton

Sue Glenn to Everyone (4:12 pm)
50 metres needs in include the return journey

Tim Dumper to Everyone (4:13 pm)
Blue badges now Bryony, include "invisible disabilities" I think on a more discretionary basis between local authorities

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (4:13 pm)
A network concept - not bus - not rail

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:13 pm)
it's the NHS Somerset clinical commission group will not fund public transport

david.phillips to Everyone (4:13 pm)
Good question, Tony.

Me to Everyone (4:13 pm)
Agreed Tony - based on MKM» (Melksham (Station code) - next trains) experienc

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:14 pm)
vaccinations centre at At Bath racecourse has a bus station

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (4:14 pm)
Tim Dumper, that would explain the blocked streets in Seaton and Beer

Mike Lambden to Everyone (4:14 pm)
Tony highlights an issue which we had in National Express West Midlands where we tried to get the community involved in routes and it was hard to get anyone to engage.

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:15 pm)
link to the Town centre

Kit Harbottle (Transition Tavistock) to Everyone (4:15 pm)
Agree with value of community helping "sell" buses, but our local experience of trying to get hold of right person in the assorted bus companies even to get some literature we offered to give out on a stall at a local festival, was very disappointing.

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (4:15 pm)
Are the decisions we make increasing the ability to shift away form environmentally unsustainable travel and offer equality of access?

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:15 pm)
The Government guidance is public transport Authority to provide

Sue Glenn to Everyone (4:16 pm)
Klkenny car park is earmarked for flats

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:16 pm)
we need  bus stop in Taunton town centre

William Shearer - WATAG to Everyone (4:16 pm)
Virtual! I have my reasons! [Question asked on facemask]

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:17 pm)
the railway station is along way out from the shopping centre we an interchange facilities in Taunton town centre

Sue Stevens to Everyone (4:17 pm)
I met a lady in tears on Wednesday in Taunton as she did\nt know how to get to the vaccination centre in the country at the racecourse - she is a normal older lady not a wizz kid with GPS, mobile phone etc. Can we not appreciate that older often find modern life difficult.

Catherine Mack to Everyone (4:17 pm)
Bus users are shown to be mainly people with lower incokes, or students of all ages, and the elderly. To expect them to be the people who will come forward to manage bus stops/stationsy a long shot

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:18 pm)
and an interchange  at the railway station

GST114288 to Everyone (4:18 pm)
my apologies for late arrival---broken down firstbus[again!] and technical access problems!

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:18 pm)
in Taunton

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (4:18 pm)
"The Nation's Network" Andrew Wickham and Cate Mack

Sue Glenn to Everyone (4:19 pm)
older and disabled people are 2 of the protected groups in the equality act 2010

Catherine Mack to Everyone (4:19 pm)
There is a climate emergeny - signed up to by all our local authorities - what we need now is concerted and agreed policy to reduce CO2, not tiny initiatives dependent upon  local action.

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:19 pm)
The Government going to.provide a national bus strategy in England

dixie to Everyone (4:19 pm)
Unfortunately buses don't attract the same affection as trains do. Perhaps we need a national Love A Bus PR (Public Relations) campaign. We need to get buy in from car users which needs a really joined up approach.

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:19 pm)
and south west bus strategy

Sue Stevens to Everyone (4:20 pm)
yes a love the bus campaign!

david.phillips to Everyone (4:20 pm)
Must go shortly but would love to engage with bus companies on strategic issues.

Tim Dumper to Everyone (4:20 pm)
We do need proper funding, as well as a strategy!

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:20 pm)
The Government is having a consultation of rural Transport strategy every one put you comments in.

Colin Divall to Everyone (4:21 pm)
If only all LEPs» (Local Enterprise Partnership - about) were so carbon-zero focussed...

Andrew Wickham to Everyone (4:21 pm)
Absolutely right Paddy.

Kit Harbottle (Transition Tavistock) to Everyone (4:21 pm)
Re cyclists / trams etc: To build active travel to the levels of parts of Europe the routes need to feel safe for less experienced cyclists. Sadly too many UK citizens see both cycling and public transport as scary because unfamiliar.

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:21 pm)
clear air zones in Bristol city centre report to Bristol city cabinet meeting this month

Dick Daniel to Everyone (4:22 pm)
Well said Kit.

Dick Daniel to Everyone (4:22 pm)
Much of life is about what we get use to, our habits & routines.
So it is important that people are aware that most journeys are short journeys, 3 out of 4 car journeys are under 5 miles, 50% of all commuter journeys are less than 3 miles. These are journeys that can be done by cycling, walking and public transport.

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (4:22 pm)
Brilliant Green corridor

Bill McCartney to Everyone (4:22 pm)
Happy to engaged David

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:22 pm)
Bath clean air Zone starts in.march

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:22 pm)
paddy  talk to James Freeman

Colin Divall to Everyone (4:23 pm)
Hydrogen is something of a red herring - we're a long way off green hydrogen

James White to Everyone (4:23 pm)
Only reservation about hydrogen is it can take three times the energy to produce so question around efficiency.

Richard Gamble to Everyone (4:23 pm)
I share Paddy's view that hydrogen has a positive contribution.

John Pope to Everyone (4:24 pm)
Could well be we will go for ammonia (Nh4) rather than Hydrogen.   Much easier to store and move. Already piped shipped and stored on a massive scale

Mike Lambden to Everyone (4:24 pm)
Some main bus routes in West Midlands are now fully electric bus.

Barclay  Davies to Everyone (4:25 pm)
Been involved in a number of Bus Passenger Panels, which operators have found useful, especially where Local Authorities have also been involved, enabling positive changes. Communities need to have an input into the bus services to ensure they meet their need, Bus services are so important, lots of people tell us that they are their lifeline. Working together in partnership is the way forward.

Cllr.Loretta Whetlor to Everyone (4:25 pm)
If you do a short journey in West SOmerset i of 5 miles you would not want to be on a bike or walk and the uses are about every 30 minutes. You really have to use a car here I’m afraid

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:25 pm)
railway station in city centre In Bath Exeter Gloucester and Poole and Dorchester

Cllr.Loretta Whetlor to Everyone (4:25 pm)
sorry *buses

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:26 pm)
we planning light rail system in Bristol and Bath city region

Sue Glenn to Everyone (4:26 pm)
don't forget stick users, not all can use mobility scooters

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:26 pm)
city Mayor and the metro mayor

Tim Dumper to Everyone (4:27 pm)
Scattergun, yes - also too much in terms of "bidding" which distracts from integrated strategies. It also disadvantages further deprived areas.

James White to Everyone (4:27 pm)
Well said Phil.

Bill McCartney to Everyone (4:28 pm)
Absolutely right Phil

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:28 pm)
The Government will need a marketing campaign on public transport this summer when it's safe

Horace Prickett to Everyone (4:28 pm)
Well spoken Phil, very true!

Kit Harbottle (Transition Tavistock) to Everyone (4:28 pm)
Shout out for Tavistock BID - have a good track record of town centre events - art trails, markets, children's activities etc.

Cllr.Loretta Whetlor to Everyone (4:29 pm)
Before COVID we had events on a regular basis at least 2 a week minimum in Watchet. We could do with a better bus route and trains as we are running out of parking spaces.

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:29 pm)
join up locial government in south west England unity authorities work

Horace Prickett to Everyone (4:30 pm)
Very true Kit, Tavistock is a treat to visit and travel is very easy on public transport from a wide surrounding are.

Cllr.Loretta Whetlor to Everyone (4:30 pm)
difficult to carry bags of shopping on a scooter

Dick Daniel to Everyone (4:30 pm)
Loretta 5 miles on a bicycle or Ebike is very doable if there is safe segregated routes.

Cllr.Loretta Whetlor to Everyone (4:31 pm)
not around the area where I live if you are over 60

Dick Daniel to Everyone (4:31 pm)
Yes even over 60.

Bryony Chetwode to Everyone (4:31 pm)
The solutions have to give options for all if we really want Zero Carbon and great high streets

David Redgewell to Everyone (4:31 pm)
a job for Graham Ellis in Wiltshire bus community partnership

-- ends --

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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2021, 10:38:11 am »

Appreciate both Swindon's Bus Company and Stagecoach West have to cover their costs AND there are tickets which are inter-available on their routes.  However shortly after the council sold off their undertaking to Go-Ahead the agreement over bus stop timetables broke down. 

Originally there was one timetable which showed all services from both companies in time order.  Now you have separate timetables for each company - either crammed into one case or in many cases the stops have two timetable cases affixed.  Where buses serve a common section of route you don't want to be trying to check two timetables to work out which one to catch.  Doesn't promote an image of a joined up service.

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