Outside Lawrence Hill station - FoSBR event, Interchange between buses and trains, April 2022

Interchange between buses and trains

FoSBR staged an event on Saturday April 2nd to draw attention to the poor nature of interchange
between buses and trains
, and looked at what should be done to improve this.

Campaigners came armed with maps, signs, information about routes and a homemade “display screen” of bus and train timetables for the bus stops and stations.

Journeys need to be easy if people are going to choose public transport rather than using their car. You need to be able to easily change between buses and trains.

Our local stations don’t have any signs and maps showing how to get to the bus stop, any timetables or displays showing the next buses or trains. How are people supposed to change between one and the other? In some places the bus stop is too far away for many people to walk and in others you wouldn’t even know there was a station or bus stop nearby!

Rob Dixon, FoSBR Chair

Campaigners visited two stations – Filton Abbey Wood, and Lawrence Hill – and their nearest bus stops. At both locations campaigners placed signs on bus stops and on station platforms to show the kind of information that is needed.

In Filton the distance from the bus stops to the station would discourage people from changing between bus and train. The nearest bus stop to Filton Abbey Wood train station is 650 metres away, despite this being one of the area’s busiest stations and having more local train services than Bristol Parkway. We made a video to give an idea what it’s like to get from the bus stop to the station:

For several years campaigners have called for better links between buses and trains here. They have proposed that a bus gate be created between Nutfield Grove and the station car park, a distance of about 50 metres where there is currently a wide footpath. This would allow buses to travel from Filton Avenue through to a stop near the station car park – where the stop has been out of use since 2015. This would also allow better access to nearby industrial units and sheltered housing. It would avoid the junction with Station Road that is often beset by delays. However the local council has consistently rejected this, misrepresenting the proposals and giving a variety of strange excuses for inaction.

As well as providing some benefit to the local community who could access bus and train services more easily, a bus-rail interchange would have strong network benefits, reducing the need for travellers from Yate, Bath, Weston-super-Mare or even Newport to travel by car to UWE, local business parks or Southmead Hospital. avoid the congestion around the North Fringe and have quicker more convenient journeys.

Instead buses are out of sight from the station and car travellers remain caught in and adding to the congestion around the Ring Road junction with Filton Avenue. By re-routing all buses through Nutfield Grove to Filton Abbey Wood station it would create a recognised interchange hub and reduce traffic.”

Martin Garrett, Transport for Greater Bristol

“We could have chosen almost any station on our local network to highlight the problems of a lack of signage and information,” said Rob Dixon. “Even Bristol Parkway and Temple Meads could be improved. Clifton Down station’s bus stops are on the street outside the station but there are no signs or information to link the two”.

Facilities – even signage, are lacking. Rob Dixon called on the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to take the simple measures that campaigners believe is needed:

“Having good interchanges at rail stations is a basic thing that you would expect a transport authority to prioritise. It’s vital to make journeys by public transport easy. Otherwise why would people choose this over travelling by car? While WECA is looking at setting up local Mobility Hubs, such as at UWE, Lockleaze and Kingswood, they are ignoring and doing nothing to make connections easier near other local rail stations. Other authorities have done this years ago. It’s simple, cheap and effective – it’s not rocket science – so what’s stopping them?”

At Lawrence Hill, while there are bus stops next to the station, Rob noted, “If you couldn’t see the buses stopping from the station platform you wouldn’t know there was a bus stop there. There are no signs and there is no information at the bus stops either. Nor would you know that there is an accessible route to platform one instead of going down the steps

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