Somerset residents are invited to have their say on a new strategy which shapes the future of public transport provision in the county.
Somerset County Council’s draft Passenger Transport Strategy sets out more ambitious aims for bus and rail travel. It strives to deliver an integrated quality bus, community transport and rail network by working with public service operators, transport groups and other providers within the county, and where possible promote sustainable community solutions to improve access in rural areas.
Passenger transport is defined as all modes where people do not rely on their own vehicle and includes bus, coach and rail services, along with private coaches, school buses, taxis, demand responsive transport (DRT) and community transport (CT).
The strategy has the following aims:
Bus: Maintain services that are most essential in meeting transport needs where the commercial market is unable to provide viable services. Work closely with communities, operators and the Government to change established models of rural bus service provision for the benefit of our communities.
Rail: Work closely with other local authorities and the rail industry to achieve greater resilience, faster journey times and more capacity and connectivity in the rail system.
Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “In a big rural county like Somerset it’s often not viable for commercial services to operate, so public transport is always a challenge.
“This document sets out these challenges but also highlights our ambitious aims to work with partners to find creative solutions and keep our communities connected.
“We very much value your feedback so please do read through the strategy and let us know what you think so we can take your views on board.”
The strategy will provide guidance for partners and help inform conversations with Government departments, operators and other key stakeholders about the issues faced in our area.
It will also help when it comes to applying for funding from Central Government and, most importantly, it will set out the strategic direction of public transport in Somerset for residents.
The consultation is now open and runs until Sunday 23 September. The strategy and consultation questions can be found at http://www.somersetconsults.org.uk.