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  • MTUG - regular meeting: March 09, 2022
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Author Topic: Melksham Transport User Group - early 2022 meetings  (Read 1548 times)
grahame
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« on: November 11, 2021, 06:57:50 am »

Meetings of MTUG» (Melksham Transport User Group - site):
19 January 2022
9 March 2022
18 May 2022 (AGM (Annual General Meeting))

... but expect a lot of activity prior to that point
« Last Edit: May 07, 2022, 07:41:01 am by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2022, 06:43:49 pm »

MTUG» (Melksham Transport User Group - site) meeting moved from 19th Jan to 16th Feb 2022. Plenty else going on in the meantime!
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2022, 12:18:36 pm »

MTUG» (Melksham Transport User Group - site) meeting moved from 19th Jan ...

Intermediate meeting that was planned for this week has been replaced by a newsletter:



Ladies and Gentlemen,

An update / news-sheet from the chair and vice chair of the Melksham Transport User Group - IN LIEU of the meeting that was planned for this Wednesday.  Next meeting's only three weeks away - that's Wednesday 9th March 2022 at 19:30.   Mostly on Zoom still (we'll perhaps do the May AGM (Annual General Meeting) in real life), but guests welcome at my place where we have the facilities to make it a hybrid meeting.   

MTUG is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Time: Mar 9, 2022 07:30 PM London (and Melksham ;-)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84590349928?pwd=aVhSbXpZYVR0a0FQbU51UjN6UkV5dz09

Meeting ID: 845 9034 9928 Passcode: 345531
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[[ This update edited by Graham Ellis - see http://grahamellis.uk/blog409.html as to my apology for why I have not been as active as usual. ]]

[[ Even as I write this, I have more to add - please accept it "as is" as I need to get it out now and not after the postponed meeting and take it as "Errors and Omissions Excepted" and please excuse me if I have not checked with 'you' first even if I should. Sanity should return soon! ]]

** CURRENT BUS SERVICE

TOWN bus (14 and 15) still running with a single vehicle due to driver shortage; expected to be back up to 2 vehicles sometime next month. Timetable at http://option247.uk/timetable/20220110_14_v1.pdf

Faresaver bus services 271, 272, 273, x34, 68 and 69 are running full timetables and no major reports of any issues - Thank You, Faresaver

National Express to London is running daily again (08:45 from Melksham), though I am hearing reports of the low fares that have been available in the past are not around at present - price is £24 single.  Prices start at £4.90 from CHIPPENHAM to London.

** CURRENT TRAIN SERVICE

One journey each way from Melksham Station per day not running at present. The trains NOT running this week are:
- Monday to Friday: 05:33 to Swindon and 06:36 to Westbury
- Saturday: 15:21 to Swindon and 16:38 to Westbury
- Sunday: 11:01 to Swindon and 12:06 to Westbury
This leaves a full service from 07:20 on Monday to Friday, a 3 hour gap on Saturday afternoons and single departure each way on Sunday mornings to Swindon at 08:36 and to Westbury at 09:38.

With such an limited train service anyway, any gap will be noticed - however, the trains that GWR (Great Western Railway) have selected to remove make sense.  The 05:33 to Swindon is the quietest of the day, and the 06:36 is typically not busy. Many passengers on that change at Trowbridge for Bath and Bristol, and the 07:20 with a change at Chippenham, or the first bus which runs round Melksham from 06:40 and heads out past the station (stop at Blenheim House at around 07:00) is another alternative to Bath

The Saturday train lost at present is preceded by one an hour earlier and followed by one an hour and a half later. Liveable without in the winter.

On Sundays, the mid morning train lost at present is a great shame - however, the earlier train IS running and provides for both people getting to work AND for day trips out.

** TRAIN FARES

Train fares are to rise by about 3.8% in March and we await a government announcement on the exact date, and then details in the fare tables.

*** Looking ahead

** IN OUR TOWN

Our Neighbourhood Plan team invited MTUG to provide a member to look after transport, and our thanks to John Hamley, long time secretary of MRDG» (Melksham Railway Development Group - about) and MRUG» (Melksham Rail User Group - site), for stepping into this role, for which he is eminently qualified.  Good to see John pictured in the group on Facebook. We will ask John for an appropriate update at future meetings.

** BUS CAMPAIGNS and forthcoming changes

The Town Bus should return to its full, 2 vehicle, service in a few weeks time.  During the Easter School Holiday, we are looking [early stage discussions but it will move fast] to promote bus travel in the town - working with councils and bus operator(s) to encourage people back onto the bus - OR to try the bus for the first time.

Looking wider, the immediate bus improvements planned in Wiltshire in the current financial year with an extra £761k from the government look stillborn  delayed {correction}, with the money spent on supporting existing services which the operators no longer find commercial because of Covid and were winding down so they're not left with surplus resources in a few months time.  In any case, there aren't enough drivers around - that's been the problem with the town bus.  So no evening and Sunday services to or from Chippenham or Trowbridge this spring but perhaps thereafter {added as a correction}.  Note that service 273 - Bath to Devizes via Melksham, is operating unchanged.

"Bus Back Better" and Bus Service Improvement plans in place for Wiltshire, and bid made to government for funding from April.  However, of the £5 billion promised for England, around £4 billion has been syphoned off for other projects, and the 50 local transport authority with bids totalling many times the available money await the outcome.  Although funding was due to start in April, it's now suggested it won't be available until the autumn, and that the projects chosen will be things like bus lanes and bus priority schemes much more suited for large towns and cities than Melksham.

I will pay credit at this point to the officers at Wiltshire Council on their bus team, who have been doing an excellent job in very difficult circumstances, and have been engaging well with the community and the Option 24/7 team with great positive effect.

** TRAIN CAMPAIGNS and forthcoming changes

We anticipate that the services currently suspended (see above) will return within a few weeks. Passenger numbers are already growing back - I counted 35 (including myself) joining the trains that called around 09:00 on Saturday.   

If you buy a bacon butty for £3 from the Melksham Hub on Monday to Friday before 09:00, you can get a free hot drink too if you have a railway ticket (so pop onto the platform first to buy one!). Note that this offer is not available on Saturdays, and is just for February. 

In early March, I am meeting with GWR to learn about and make inputs to timetable consultation for the changes that will happen in May and December.  We would expect little to change, though perhaps a few connectional changes at Westbury and hopefully a later Saturday train from Westbury to Swindon. At present, a train runs empty from Westbury to Swindon at 8 p.m. and it would be sensible to have it stop at Trowbridge, Melksham and Chippenham to help people get home from days out.

There is much to do to rebuild train and bus use over the coming months and years - not only to rebuild after Covid, but also to develop further in a more climate and environmental way than has been done in the past.  At the same time, there is the very real concern that the government wants to reduce the subsidies which is a tough call while passenger numbers rebuild.

*** SUMMARY

For those of you who have skim-read ;-)
- next meeting, 9th March, Zoom code above
- Early April - can you help with leafletting please?
- Most trains running at present
- We look forward to regrowth, but with challenges and your help, this summer

Questions, queries, comments … please let me or Peter know. 

Graham
« Last Edit: February 15, 2022, 12:43:17 pm by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2022, 10:39:32 am »

Melksham Transport User Group
"State of the Nation" public transport overview and "Regular" meeting
19:30 on 9th March 2022 (That's this Wednesday evening)


via Zoom - all welcome. 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84590349928?pwd=aVhSbXpZYVR0a0FQbU51UjN6UkV5dz09

Our vice chair, Graham Ellis, writes:

Trains and buses have both seen a dramatic reduction in use during the pandemic - with a massive effect on their finances creating a hole which the Government has filled, but with an increasing reluctance and a very clear message that things can't go on like this.  There is also a significant shortage of trained operations staff, and at present both train and some bus services in Melksham are curtailed in order to ensure that a reliable (if lesser) service can be run, rather than passenger having pot luck on the day.

Train fares rose by 3.8% last week - and some bus fares in the region have gone up too. People complain, but that's as noting compared to the price rises seen on motor fuel - petrol and diesel have risen by around 25% in a year.  And with a greater conscience of the climate and environment, there is now an opportunity for modal shift - for people to use public transport for so many more journeys, and to bring train and bus back so much better.

In the last week, I have met with South Western Railways, attended a briefing by Great Western Railway, and met with Wilshire Council officers who "look after" buses. Yesterday, I attended a regional Railfuture meeting and on Tuesday I'm with the West Wilts Rail User Group.  After introductions, I'll spend perhaps half an hour bringing the group up to date with the national and regional position, and then looking more locally towards what that means for Melksham. 

Agenda

1. Welcome and apologies for absence
2. An update - "state of the nation" thing as described above
3. Reports from rail and bus groups (TransWilts, WWRUG» (West Wiltshire Rail Users Group - about), Option 24/7, etc)
4. Treasurer and admin update (finance, web site, AGM (Annual General Meeting), mailing lists)
5. Station adoption issues
6. Promotions and help needed
6a - destination Melksham
7. Outings and trips
8. Looking forward - consultations and service plans
9. AOB
10. Diaries and date of next meeting

-----------

Graham Ellis - MTUG» (Melksham Transport User Group - site) is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Melksham Transport User Group - briefing and meeting
Time: Mar 9, 2022 07:30 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84590349928?pwd=aVhSbXpZYVR0a0FQbU51UjN6UkV5dz09

Meeting ID: 845 9034 9928
Passcode: 345531
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