Off the buses
With the Taunton bus station due to close at the end of this month, passenger groups are concerned. There have been calls to delay the closure until alternative facilities are in place. As it stands the following changes to services that currently use the bus station in Taunton are due to take place:
Services 21/21A, 22/22A and 28 will depart from Castle Way. (Stop G)
Services 29, 30, 54 and 99 will depart from outside Clinton’s Cards (Stop I)
Service 25 will depart from outside the Fat Face shop (Stop H)
Service PR1 will no longer call at Castle Way. Towards Musgrove Park and Silk Mills buses will depart from the Market House (Stop K).
Towards Gateway buses will depart from Corporation Street (Stop L)
Meanwhile we received the following letter which itemises a number of concerns around the closure of the bus station:
We would like to ask the following questions about the impact of the bus and coach station closure on public transport users in Taunton At a recent cabinet meeting and full council meeting Travel Watch South West, Railfuture Severnside, South West Transport Network and the RMT and Unite unions raised the following concerns to the council about alternative investment in interchange facilities within the town centre.
1 The need for warm properly covered shelters for Castleway the parade and Eastreach and for good lighting with dropped kerbs for disabled access to be built in the scheme.
2 Realtime information to be provided at the bus stops and seating
3 That facilities are provided for National Express Coach services within the town centre including road space to put down the wheelchair lift
4 That full public consultation be carried out with public transport user group and passengers about passengers facilities within the town centre.
5 The RMT union be given an assurance that a canteen and radio room be provided with in the town centre.
6 That the bus and coach station would not close until a better interchange in the town centre had been provided.
7 Because of the need for you to develop the land for a leisure complex with upmarket waterfront housing (Somerset West and Taunton Council owning half the bus station site already) that some of the development profits should be re invested in a bus interchange in the town centre. At present no consultation meetings have taken place since the council meetings.
We have a very congested town centre with poor air quality. A climate change emergency has been declared and we need to progressively replace the use of private cars in the centre of town. We would welcome progress on improving the bus service network and infrastructure beyond the park and ride service which we welcome your support for.
In the south west government money is being invested in new bus interchanges at Gloucester, Exeter and Weston super Mare. New facilities have been provided in bus stations in Truro, Penzance, Newquay and St Ives in Cornwall by the DfT, Cornwall Council and First Group
Further new bus rail interchanges will come to St Erth, Weymouth Town and Dorchester South stations .
Whilst we welcome the transport interchange at Taunton railway station, it is simply not big enough. At a time when there are lots of government grants available via Somerset County Council (the transport authority) from the Central Government Department for Transport, we wonder why no bid has been put in for a bus interchange by Somerset County Council and SW&T council.
We hope the council will now meet with public transport user groups and Transport Focus (who have a guide to passenger disruption) to find a way forward with the bus operator and the transport unions.
South West Transport Network, Railfuture Severnside