Thursday, 16 December 2010

Pennine Reach "Alive and Well" LCC announce.

Lancashire County Council cabinet member just confirmed Pennine Reach Bus scheme in Hyndburn is 'alive and well' and LCC fully behind new bid.

Lancashire Telegraph

There are three issues with the Pennine Reach scheme; bus stops and stations, public information, a more timely service.

There is a consensus that Accrington needs a new bus station and that improved 'real time' GPS bus stops and satellite bus terminus's would improved the service and bring it into the new millennia.

The controversial issue surrounds a more timely service. Pennine Reach being a business led bid, an effort to improve transport in this part of East Lancashire.

Whilst bus lanes would improve times they would remove private on street car parking and remove car parking for passing retail trade to shops particularly in Oswaldtwistle.

Smart pre paid cards would have a greater effect, removing cash many payments getting on the bus's. Having just bus lanes at traffic lights and roundabouts gaining priority where possible would also contribute to significant time saving.

Thirdly revamping Traveline which is 50% owned by the County Council would help. It is a marvellous service but lack's real time, is not user friendly and only works on large screen PC's.

GPS trackers on buses should not only provide real time info at stops but also facilitate easy live information on smart phones.

Traveline currently tells you how to get between property A and property B in Lancashire. The nearest bus stop to you, where to change and what bus's to catch where with arrival several time options. See Londons journey planner here.

This needs real time GPS adding to a new smart phone interface like Trainline or the National Rail app.

Fourthly and not something that Pennine Reach aims to tackle but which will make a difference to a belief in bus services; a reliable timetable with improved services. The current de-regulated free-for-all serves no-one.

I have encouraged the County and they happy to work across Party on re-regulating bus services by bus franchising. Where local people set the timetable's and auction bundled timetables, such as services that are peak but include perhaps an axed off peak service.