29th September 2004
I am writing this letter to several authorities concerned with transport planning in Bristol and the southwest. It is to press the case for an integrated transport hub in Bristol and for it to be located adjacent to (or above or below) Temple Meads Station.
I have discussed this idea widely with almost universal agreement, but the response of the Bristol City Council (BCC) Environment, Transport and Leisure (ETL) Executive and Department, and from First Bus, have been rather negative. It would seem their priorities are necessarily quite short term. I hope you have a longer view and a realistic vision of our future needs.
Having travelled widely in both developed and developing countries mainly by public transport (a book of one of my journeys is to be published on 4/11/04) and with an ongoing interest in travel systems together with some educational and professional experience, I remain convinced that an integrated transport hub is needed to serve Bristol and its sub-region.
I noted with pleasure that the imminent development of what is being called Temple Quarter included (and according to the newly decorated hoardings still includes) an ‘integrated transport hub’. However a conversation with a designer employed by the developers suggested that this was merely part of a wish-list. Conversations with officers from the ETL Department and with a manager from First Bus confirmed this negative view.
I am hoping that regional authorities such as yours will appreciate the need for an integrated public transport interchange or hub, and that the site adjacent to Temple Meads Station is ideal, but will not continue to be available. If the opportunity is not taken now the facilities which will inevitably be required eventually will cost far more.
I envisage facilities that integrate existing and hopefully improved railway services, local, county, and long distance buses, private cars associated with the foregoing, taxis, bicycles, pedestrians and ferry-users. The existing shuttles to the airport and the park and rides would continue as would ones to the central business and shopping districts and to special venues such as football matches and balloon festivals. Toilets, shops and refreshment facilities would be available. Travellers would be able to transfer from one mode to another conveniently, under cover, and in safety. Such facilities are common in other countries and are being introduced in some cities in Britain.
I urge you to ensure that Bristol and its region gets the facilities it needs if we are to have an integrated sustainable transport system to serve us all in the future.
In my personal capacity.
(I represent Friends of the Earth as a co-optee on the BCC ETL Scrutiny Commission and I am at present serving on the Sustainable Transport Theme Group of the Best Value Review of Integrated Transport. I have written a light-hearted, verbal description of the facilities I envisage, available on my blog at http:// sp37.info.)
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