Rail and bus links
R E Executive members of the West of England Partnership support Dave Wood (August 25).
Transport for Greater Bristol Alliance (TFGB) welcomes the positive stance taken by the West of England Partnership on rail development for the region, but their support seems limited.
They suggest that £5 million, quoted to develop a new station, is impractical at present, but this is an average figure, which can also include rebuilds of mainline stations. The temporary station built after floods in the North West of England last year was costed at £300,000. Reopening platforms could go hand in hand with the proposed quadrupling of track on the lines between Parson Street, Temple Meads and Parkway to create an effective Bristol Metro. Only two short platforms on the local line are required to reopen some of Bristol's lost stations.
Network Rail's proposal to quadruple the track would offer an excellent opportunity for WoEP to save money by discontinuing the BRT3 proposal, which involves sending bendy-buses up the M32.
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Far better to combine the resources (and the potential market demand) planned for BRT3 with the quadrupling of track. Enhanced local bus services can serve local stations so that many cross-city passengers can transfer to much faster trains. The enhanced passenger demand could generate a service much better than every 30 minutes as presently proposed.
All this requires the integration of buses and trains, with interchanges at local rail stations; standard in the Netherlands and Germany for decades.
The biggest gap of all, in support for rail integration, is the failure to reserve the area between Temple Meads and Temple Quay (the Plot 6 area) for a transport interchange between buses and rail. This still does not appear in the Bristol Core Strategy, the city's long-term, town-planning blueprint. A few cheap quays or bays along the lines of those found at Cribb's Causeway are all that is needed. Buses can readily access it off the Temple Circus roundabout.
The few buses that currently brave the chaos in Station Approach, including the airport bus, could be relocated on to Plot 6, as well as all the south bound buses that now stop along Temple Gate adding to the congestion there.
Another gap in WoEP's stance on connecting rail with other forms of transport is BRT2. It will not even reach within 350m of Temple Meads, because WoEP has declined to take the route via Plot 6, next to the station.
The WoEP needs to be encouraged to support rail in a way that integrates bus routes with stations.
On behalf of Transport for Greater Bristol Alliance,