Transport is always an essential issue linked to sustainability and with fuel prices always going up, we clearly need to look at the future for more sustainable ways of travelling.
In this context, proposed cuts for all bus subsidies from the Worcestershire County Council are met with scepticism from local politicians who emphasise the importance of affordable public transport.
Worcester in particular has a great problem with congestion in the City Centre and a park and ride system that hasn’t worked particularly well until now.
Conservative Worcester MP Robin Walker recognises that there are parking problems in the city, especially around the Arboretum area. He advocates for a larger controlled parking area around Worcester City Centre and parking schemes for residents in neighbourhoods close to the heart of the city.
“Once we have that, then we can make Park and Ride really work and get it to a scale where it’s economically sustainable and the cost of parking and bus tickets pays for the system,” said Mr Walker.
About the proposed bus cuts in Worcestershire, Mr Walker highlighted that 80% of all bus routes across the county already run without any public subsidy.
“We’ve got four out of five buses able to run without the need for public money. That’s before this round of cuts. I think there are perfectly good reasons to have subsidy on some of those remaining services, particularly where they serve hospitals and where students rely on them to get to college and university,” said Mr Walker.
County Councillor Matt Jenkins, representing the Green Party, agreed that there’s not enough public transport in Worcester and there’s a pressing need for a better system.
“We have to promote the Park and Ride system and get people not to use their car as much as they do. We also have to make Worcester more cycle and pedestrian friendly. We need a plan to be put in place for the future,” said Cllr Jenkins.
One of the measures he proposes is imposing 20 mph speed limits in areas surrounding the City Centre.
“Personally, I think this is one way to get people out of their cars. If you’ve got lots of 20mph areas, people are more likely to go out and walk because it’s a nice environment,” said Cllr Jenkins.
University of Worcester is promoting using public transport to its staff and students by offering discounted bus tickets and also by encouraging people to take up cycling, through an amazingly affordable Bike Loan Scheme. In Go Green Week, you can get a membership to the scheme for just £5. This means you’ll be able to hire for 48 hours quality bikes for free from both St John’s Campus and City Campus.