100,000 extra journeys made on Severn Beach railway in last year
PASSENGER numbers on the Severn Beach railway line jumped by almost 17 per cent last year.
The number of journeys made on the service between Bristol Temple Meads and Severn Beach grew from 575,673 in 2008/9 to 673,000 in 2009/10.
The Association of Train Operating Companies says the Severn Beach line achieved the fourth largest increase in passenger numbers among the country's branch lines last year, behind lines in Cornwall and Derbyshire.
Julian Crow, west of England manager for First Great Western, which runs services on the line, said: "We're pleased to see the number of passengers choosing to travel with us is growing significantly year on year.
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"We do everything we can to make journeys as comfortable and relaxing as possible, and our performance and customer satisfaction is at an all time high. I hope this trend continues and we continue to welcome even more people on to our trains over the coming year."
The number of passenger journeys on the Severn Beach line has risen by 60 per cent since 2007/8, when 420,000 journeys were made on the service.
Dave Redgewell, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said that although the increase in passengers was "fantastic", there needed to be continued investment in the service.
He said: "This increase has happened as a result of funding from Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council. If that funding is no longer forthcoming, these figures won't continue to rise."
He said passengers had drawn up a wish list for the service which included introducing CCTV cameras at stations, disabled access at Stapleton Road and Lawrence Hill stations, a platform at the Portway park-and-ride site and ticket machines at Redland, Clifton Down and Montpelier stations.
Mr Redgewell said there needed to be extra security on evening services and more emphasis on collecting fares, with up to 25 per cent of them going uncollected last year.
He said: "The figures are fantastic and it shows how partnerships can work between local authorities and First Group. We need to make sure this partnership continues and need to make sure funding is forthcoming in the future.
"If we keep improving, we can get people out of their cars and on to public transport."