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Last Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Public transport 'poorly linked'
Trên (generic)
Most respondents did not feel safe leaving their bike at a rail station
Public transport has too many weak links making it difficult to switch from one mode to another, a report by an environmental group suggests.

Travellers polled for a Transport 2000 survey said buses did not connect with train times and stations had insecure cycle parking and poorly-lit footpaths.

The poll also said only 29% thought bus timetables were clear and accurate.

The Department for Transport said it was working constantly to improve the integration of the transport network.

Better buses

A spokesman for the department said plans included improving access to railway stations, better integration with bus services and improved parking facilities.

He said £150m is to be invested into refurbishing and modernising 150 mid-sized stations, with a further £370m being spent on the Access for All station programme.

The draft Local Transport Bill proposes greater powers for local authorities to improve the quality of local bus services, he added.

Transport 2000 said the government had taken steps in the right direction but there was still some way to go.

The challenge now is encouraging them to make the switch and leave their vehicles at home
Jonathan Morley, Trueform

Tara Melton, from the group, said: "Rail passengers need real travel choices. All stations should have good bus links, decent footpaths and secure cycle parking and must be accessible to all."

The survey found 60% of respondents said that they would not feel safe leaving their bike at a train station and 62% said there was not a safe cycle route to the station.

Only 36% felt paths to their station were safe, well-lit and free of obstacles, Transport 2000 said.

Ms Melton added: "What our survey shows is that this clearly is not the case for many rural and urban stations, leaving many people with no choice but to drive to the station."

Transport expert Christian Wolmar told BBC Radio Five Live that some problems were caused by competition in the industry.

"It's actually illegal if there are two bus companies in a city for them to cooperate over fares, and that's because the Competition Commission doesn't allow it.

"So we have some daft practices that go back a long time."

Dependent

Meanwhile, in a separate survey almost three-quarters of people questioned said they thought there was too much reliance on the car in the UK.

Transport services company Trueform Group found that despite this, more than half (56%) of adults in the survey drive their car every day,

Drivers in Northern Ireland seemed most dependent with 64% driving daily, followed closely by the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside. In contrast, 26% of Londoners polled use their cars every day.

Trueform technical director Jonathan Morley said investment in rail, bus and other forms of public transport meant there was a viable alternative to car travel.

"The challenge now is encouraging them to make the switch and leave their vehicles at home," he said.


What is public transport like where you live? Are there proper links between buses and trains? Is it easy to cycle or walk to transport stations?

Below are a selection of your comments:

I think there needs to be a fundamental look at train connection times. This is especially so between different train companies. I have a train coming into Beckenham Junction on Southern. The connecting train to Bromley South, on Southeastern, leaves two minutes before my Southern train gets in. It's the same on the way back.
Gregory Martinez, Upper Norwood, London

In order to get to and from work I use the bus from Hayfield to New Mills Newtown train station. Unfortunately, from 2 September 2007 the two bus companies are no longer going to New Mills Newtown train station, meaning a total lack of transport integration and a lot of inconvenience for passengers using the buses and trains in Hayfield and New Mills. I have written to complain but no-one gives a hoot. More cars on the roads, I have no doubt, is the only answer.
Shaun Tinsley, Hayfield, England

So, travelling from Birmingham to Felixstowe on public transport I have to get off the train at Paddington, lug cases up and down flights of stairs (no lifts, this is London) get on the Underground with everyone else going to work, get off the Underground and get onto another train the other side of London. This problem has been around for at least twenty years. And this revelation came out today?
Paul, London

The station here is served apparently by a mishmash of buses that run on a complex and spartan timetable, or require prebooking. The only regular bus service is the 300, which stops a good walk away. The situation is best understood by noticing the size of the car park and how busy it gets.
Martin , Princes Risborough, UK

I used to commute from St Albans to Cambridge by car (50 miles, 60-70 minutes). Having thought there must be an alternative by public transport I worked out a route - via bus, train, a second train, then bus. There were 2 problems: timing and cost. There were no sensible connections early morning between bus and train at the near end (Hatfield), so I had to get a taxi. The entire journey took 2.5 hours one way and cost over £30 (return). Unsurprisingly I only tried it once.
Phil Ainsworth, St Albans, UK

The bus service in my area, linking to the local rail network, has been cut back from a 6am to 8pm service, to one that only runs from 10am to 3pm. Absolutely no use for anyone going to work, school or on a long journey. There seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy that the buses are only to be used by pensioners and the unemployed.
Robert Charty, Crosby, Merseyside

In Brighton, a bus route that previously connected with a rail service has been redirected in order to avoid the railway station. The Summer 2007 issue of my local Bus Times proudly boasts: "A quicker journey will be available for passengers to and from Shoreham and Southwick on Service 2/2A with buses using Olive Road in Portslade instead of Carlton Terrace and encountering delays at the notorious level crossing at Portslade Station."
Paul Heath, Hove



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