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How can bus stops be crammed into busy streets?
9:37am Thursday 5th September 2013 in Salisbury Letters
IT has long been apparent that Wiltshire Council’s failure to undertake proper long term strategic transport planning for Salisbury was a disaster waiting to happen.
With the unveiling of the proposals to replace the bus station with bus stops around the city centre, adding to already overcrowded pavements and with the resulting major loss of amenity to bus travellers and those trying to use the city centre, it seems the wait is over.
It is accepted that the bus company is at liberty to sell its bus station, and this has been a countrywide trend. The Salisbury Vision anticipated this move by designating the bus station for redevelopment as housing, with the caveat that this should only be considered if suitable alternative arrangements were in place for buses.
But having thus eased the path for the site to be sold there has been a complete failure to plan for the future; no one can seriously call the arrangements to cram extra stops onto narrow and congested pavements “suitable”.
This certainly falls far short of the aspiration to “deliver real improvements to the experience of bus passengers”, which we were promised last year when Salisbury’s Quality Bus Partnership announced it had attracted £1.4m of funding through the government’s Better Bus Area initiative.
Some of this money is now being redirected towards the completely inadequate replacement stops now proposed.
Other local authorities have recognised that proper public transport provision must include interchanges as well as services, and recognised that they need to plan for and invest in these facilities.
In Andover the local council, anticipating the demands that additional housing around their town will make on public transport, have allocated £2.9m to extend and refurbish their bus station.
In June this year Bournemouth announced that it would allocate up to £10m towards a new bus station because of congestion on existing stops.
Wiltshire Council and the Salisbury Vision must surely now recognise that proper transport planning is essential; simply reacting to events will not produce the public transport infrastructure Salisbury needs.
CLLR MARGARET WILLMOT, Fisherton & Bemerton Village Ward
SO the Bus Stations in Amesbury and Salisbury have now been sold.
Presumably the company which inherited the sites on de-regulation in the 1990s has benefitted quite considerably from the sale.
Now the local authority is looking to provide extra bus stops and "layover" bays.
I reckon on a normal weekday at least five buses at any one time would be seen standing in the Salisbury Bus Station waiting to start their routes.
So that’s a minimum of five on-street places needed.
It may seem an obvious question, but as I haven’t seen the answer yet I have to ask - who is paying for these extra bus stops and layover bays? Unfortunately for Wiltshire tax payers, I bet it isn’t the bus company. I hope I’m wrong.
Still, now there’s a central site available we have room for a new police station, don’t we?
JOHN CUTLAND, Wilton
LIKE most of us I am sometimes wrong, so please forgive me if that is the case.
However, following the decision of Wilts & Dorset bus company to dispense with the bus stations in Amesbury and Salisbury, it would seem (from what I have heard and read) that Wiltshire Council is now responsible for providing new stops and layover points for buses.
This, then, must involve some degree of use of the public exchequer to assist the privately-owned bus company carry out its business after this act of asset stripping.
Surely, a responsible company would have arranged an alternative, secure site to welcome its clientele into Salisbury and Amesbury and most importantly on to its buses.
Little wonder that many of said buses run near to empty.
BRIAN FORD, Bemerton Heath
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