Congratulations to Professor John Whitelegg, editor of the World Transport Policy and Practice journal for taking Councillor Steve Davenport to task for suggesting getting rid of Shrewsbury Bus Station.
What a dreadful idea and such a blinkered view! What the bus station needs desperately is a complete re-vamp to brighten up the passenger concourse and provide some much needed enhancements such as a decent set of toilets and a working real-time display of bus times. Let us just consider the following (which Councillor Davenport clearly has not):
The bus station serves the council's white elephant shopping centres, a direct link to Pride Hill Shopping Centre and not far from the Darwin Centre, which need all the footfall that can be generated.
As the terminal point for most of the urban, interurban and rural services (yes, Shropshire is a rural county) it provides a valuable interchange facility.
The bus station is within a 5-minute walk to/from the railway station, thus almost making a bus/rail interchange. Much better than the old bus station in Barker Street.
Councillor Davenport suggests keeping dirty diesel-engined buses out of the town centre. The bus station is not in the town centre and many services do not pass through the town centre. Ongoing developments regarding diesel, hydrogen, hybrid and electric propulsion of buses and coaches will soon make zero emissions the norm. In the meantime we stand to lose the bus station for good for limited short-term gain. (Or is he really looking at the site value of the bus station to capitalise on).
Will he also be banning diesel-powered vans and lorries delivering goods in town, including the two shopping centres?
I live in Whittington. If I want to go by bus from home to Bridgnorth I can catch the Shrewsbury bus to Shrewsbury Bus Station and transfer to the Bridgnorth bus. Two buses each way, total four. If Councillor Davenport has his way I will have to travel by bus to, presumably, Oxon Park & Ride and catch another bus into town, then another one to, presumably, Meole Brace Park & Ride where I could catch the Bridgnorth bus. Four buses each way making a total of eight. Madness! And what about the accumulated bus fares? I quote from the Shropshire Star of 29 July 'But Councillor Davenport insists that leaving passengers with fewer options is the exact opposite of what he would like to see' what nonsense!
I write as a retired bus and coach driver and, between 1997 and 2002 as Rural Transport Development Officer with the Community Council of Shropshire, working with the Public Transport section of Shropshire County Council. We worked for transport integration, not separation.
Please remember, Councillor Davenport, that you represent the population of the whole Unitary Council of Shropshire, not just Shrewsbury town centre. Please re-consider your ill-conceived plans.By all means introduce electric buses to the Park & Ride network but, please, give all the bus operators in Shropshire chance to reduce their buses' emissions, which is already an ongoing process. Please note also that Park & Ride services and local bus services are licensed differently and passengers cannot transfer from one to the other. The serve totally different purposes.
John Carroll, Whittington
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