The following are all stubs of posting ideas that i’ve had over recent weeks. Rather than put three separate posts with short articles, here they are collected together – two on planning and a short story on filth.
Where in the Worle?
Although this might be stepping somewhat on the toes of former Brighton & Hove MD Roger French (who now spends his time as an secret passenger aboard Britain’s public transport), it does appear to be that some parts of our bus network locally have suffered from the most infuriating planning failures.
Take Worle, for example. The retail park at Worle has a bus terminus attached to it. The stop for the most frequent bus service (First’s 7) is around 55 metres from the main entrance to Sainsburys. The walking route to the front door of Sainsburys is almost three times as long as this, while a car can be parked less than 10 metres from the front door. Given how tiny an effort it would have required to make the bus stops on a direct walkway from the front door of the supermarket, why are local authorities continuing to allow public transport users to be treated so contemptuously?
It wouldn’t be quite so bad if you couldn’t actually see how close you are to where you wanted to go when you arrive on the top deck of a 7… Or if there were any signage to indicate what the walking route should be… Or a covered walkway… Or if there weren’t this temptingly climbable fence blocking direct access…
I’m fairly sure i wasn’t the first person to climb the fence, nor will i be the last.
Never Mind the Banwells
The announcement in late 2019 that funding for a Banwell bypass had been secured by North Somerset was generally hailed as an achievement by most people who live and work in the area. Sadly, this one project which should have been achieved 30 years ago has now been hopelessly overtaken by other developments – mainly those where houses are built in rabbit-warren like estates.
Part of the now apparently defunct Joint Local Spatial Plan devised by WECAvon and North Somerset included the development of a new conurbation surrounding the villages of Banwell, Churchill, Sandford and Lower Langford which had been christened Mendip Spring Garden Village.
New arterial roads proposed in this development would reduced loads on existing local roads (such as the A368) and provide capacity to serve developments already in built, including two substantial new estates at Churchill on the A38 (one north east of the number 8 on the map, the other across the A38). The only problem is that now the Spatial Plan is reportedly dead in the water, what hope is there for any relief of the woefully unsuitable B3133 (Stock Lane) between Langford and Congresbury? In recent years this road has also become home to a Bristol University campus (former Langford Vetinary College), as well as being used plenty of large bulk HGV traffic from local operators.
Most concerning of all is that North Somerset has allowed these houses to be built without any public transport funding from the developers of either of the ironically named “Langford Fields” and “Blagdon Gardens”. Apparently they have the Stagecoach Falcon to take them to Bristol, so the absense of a direct or usable bus service to the hugely important education centre of Weston College isn’t an issue? How could North Somerset’s planning department fail to get this recognised?
I was told around twenty years ago by a then local government officer (whilst discussing my future career) that transport planning and public transport planning are two very different things. Never has this felt more true.
Dip your toe in the mud…
I was recently walking down to a local shop and was reminded of a time i was out driving one of our services. I arrived at a bus stop on the outskirts of a town around 9:20am, prime concessionary travel time. A regular passenger with a big mouth* boards and puts her pass on the scanner.
“This bus looks like it hasn’t been washed in a month!”
“It was clean when it left the depot this morning.”
“No it wasn’t. Look at it, it’s filthy!”
“I know it is now. You should see the state of the roads i’ve been down in the past two hours.”
“Oh, excuses excuses. You lot are all the same!”
Of course, as all subscribers to various Facebook groups are only too aware – it is always the driver’s fault and they are always lying to you.
* – Accurate description. And we don’t do it any more. Never again.