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Darren receives update on 3 and 4 bus routes

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has shared additional updates on First Bus services that run from Cribbs through Henbury, Lawrence Weston, Shirehampton, Sea Mills, Coombe Dingle and Stoke Bishop to the city centre.

Darren said:

” Whilst discussions of the proposed A4018 changes have been my focus, I have not forgotten about the other on-going transport challenges in Bristol North West. My team recently arranged for First Bus to attend the Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston Forum. After the meeting, First told us:

The reliability of service 3 and 4 is still challenging; but service changes planned for 28th April (bus service changes cannot take effect until after 70 days notification time) will see additional running time put into the schedule on Monday to Saturday which should improve punctuality and reliability. In addition, from the 28th April Monday to Friday additional journeys are being introduced between 14:30 and 16:00 to reflect customer demand; and help ease overcapacity.

Residents shared their desire for a direct link between Lawrence Weston and Southmead Hospital, the First rep has fed back these requests to their commercial department.

Residents also expressed concerns with the ‘Real Time Information’ (RTI) displays at bus stops and advised they were not working as they should. The First rep advised, bus stops and their associated infrastructure are the property of the council, and residents are encouraged to feedback these concerns directly. First have also agreed to share these concerns with the local authorities as there are known issues across the city. I do hope bus users start to see an improvement soon – I’ll be keeping a close eye on this over the coming months!”

To follow Darren’s work on Transport click here.

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Darren meets Sea Mills 100 team and joins Sea Mills and Stoke Bishop Local Forum

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones recently joined members of the team celebrating Sea Mill’s 100th Birthday. You can find out more and get involved in the centenary celebrations by visiting: http://seamills100.co.uk/

The evening before, Darren joined nearly 100 residents at the Sea Mills and Stoke Bishop Local Forum.

Darren said after the Forum:

“Thanks to the Sea Mills and Stoke Bishop Local Forum for inviting me to their meeting this evening. We covered my North Bristol Transport Plan, the number 3/4 bus routes, Stoke Lodge, tree planting, Sea Mills’ 100th birthday, the Downs Festival, local parking and cycling and the proposed new cafe on the Downs. And Brexit, of course.

If you’d like me to come to your local forum drop me an email on darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk”.

You can follow my work in the local area here.

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A4018 Proposals – How to make your views and suggestions known

Darren is calling on Bristol City Council to scrap controversial proposals which would see the carving up of Westbury-on-Trym village and the cutting off of Henbury and Brentry. Under these proposals, due to the volume of turning restrictions, congestion in Southmead is also likely to be impacted.

You can see Bristol City Council’s full proposals for the A4018 by clicking HERE.

Darren held his own series of briefings on 16th February with over 300 residents.

Darren is planning an additional meeting before the consultation closes on 9th March you can reserve a ticket here. 

The current proposals involve significant restrictions on routes through Westbury-on-Trym village, including turning roads such as Stoke Road into a semi-pedestrianised dead end and reversal of current one-way streets. Under these proposals, only buses, taxis and cyclists would be able to continue along the High Street past the Post Office. These changes would effectively close off much of Westbury on Trym village to cars, having a significant impact on high street businesses and the vibrancy of the village centre.

In addition, proposed changes to the Crow Lane roundabout (to turn it into a traffic light junction with turning restrictions) as well as restricted turns into Brentry Lane and Charlton Road, would see Brentry cut off from right turning northbound traffic, pushing drivers to go through Southmead to use already-congested roads.

Take action

Darren is calling on local residents to sign his petition to help show the strength of feeling against some of the current proposals:

What is good about these proposals?

Improving bus and cycle lanes is good for public transport. Buses are often late or cancelled because they get stuck in car based gridlock, reducing the number of people using them and keeping ticket prices higher.

Helping buses to become more reliable and on time will increase use and therefore reduce price, as well as helping us meet our air pollution targets. But these bus lanes need to be designed in the right way and should not impact village centres or cut-off whole areas due to a high volume of turning restrictions.

New traffic light proposals at the turn off for Southmead are welcomed, along with proposals for new pedestrian crossings along or near the A4018. Equally, improvements to pedestrian crossings and the flow of traffic at the Crow Lane roundabout are overdue.

What more could be included?

A new zebra crossing is needed further down Canford Lane and a change to the double roundabout near Southmead Hospital into a traffic light based system would be welcomed.

What do you think?

Darren wants to hear from local residents, especially along the proposed route, about their views.

With the help of volunteer distributors, Darren has printed 10,000 leaflets for delivery. He also welcomes e-mail feedback to: darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk (please include your address).

In a statement in early February 2019, Darren said:

I’m afraid it looks like the council has lost the plot. Under no circumstances can the proposed carving up of Westbury-on-Trym village happen and I will be calling on my colleague Mayor Marvin Rees to scrap them.
Residents and transport provides have made it clear to me in my North Bristol Transport Plan that they would like to see continuous bus and cycle routes along key routes, but these current proposals are not fit for purpose.
As I have set out in my North Bristol Transport Plan, I believe that a bus and cycle lane can be put along the main road from Henbury to Bristol City Centre without reducing the current road capacity for drivers and without the need for so many restrictions on turning off of the main road.
But these bus routes need to be attached to new Transport Hubs, bringing together park and ride, rail, car parking and electric vehicle charging and cycle hire and lock up. I have called for three of these, near the Henbury rugby club, at the Portway Park and Ride in Shirehampton and North of Lockleaze.
I will now consult with my constituents, with a particular focus on those who live along the proposed bus route, to gather their feedback so that I can ensure their views are heard loud and clear both at Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority.
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Darren speaks to BBC Radio Bristol about Transport Plan launch

This morning, Darren spoke to BBC Radio Bristol about the launch of his North Bristol Transport Plan. The plan is a result of Darren’s consultations with constituents on transport at surgeries, over letters and email, and via a Transport Survey. It includes plans for three new transport hubs, new non-stop bus and cycle lanes, and restricted access to the Bristol YTL Arena/new housing.

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Darren questions government over efficacy of Rail Ombudsman

Darren Jones MP has question the government over the efficacy of the new Rail Ombudsman following a number of requests for support from constituents.

Darren Jones MP said:

” My office often supports constituents who have struggled to get legitimate refunds from third party rail retailers such as Trainline, the ticket booking company.

Following a recent case where Trainline attempted to evade my office’s enquiries for months, I asked the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will extend the remit of the new Rail Ombudsman to include oversight of train ticket selling platforms which are not operated directly by train operating companies.

I was told:

‘The Rail Ombudsman is a voluntary scheme established by the franchised GB rail companies who are its members. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is currently consulting on making membership of the Rail Ombudsman scheme mandatory for all the rail companies to which it issues licences.

Online train ticket selling platforms provided by members of the Rail Ombudsman scheme are already within the remit of the Ombudsman. However, online Third Party Retailers (such as the Trainline), which are not directly affiliated to Ombudsman scheme members, are not required to hold licences from the ORR and are not therefore within consideration for mandatory membership.

Nevertheless, the Rail Delivery Group is currently in discussions with Third Party Retailers and their professional body (the Third Party Rail Retailers Association) to explore the possibility of them joining the Rail Ombudsman scheme in due course’.

Third party retailers, such as Trainline, must be subject to investigation by, and the rulings of, the Rail Ombudsman. Given they sell hundreds of thousands of tickets each year, not to include retailers such as Trainline, seems to suggest a toothless regulator for millions of rail users.”

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Darren receives reply about Sims Hill from Bristol Mayor

Prior to the closure of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) transport consultation, Darren Jones MP shared his comments with WECA. You can view these here.

The submission raised concerns about the potential for a new park and ride site at rare blue-finger allotment land at Sims Hill. Stoke Park within Darren’s constituency could also be impacted.

Darren, MP for Bristol North West, has since received a reply from Bristol City Council Mayor Marvin Rees about this matter.

Darren said:

“Grateful to Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol for his prompt response to calls from me, Kerry McCarthy and Lockleaze Councillors Gill and Estella calling out plans to build a park and ride on important greenbelt land near the M32.

It is great to see Marvin agree it needs to be further North near the M4 junction and making the case for urban agriculture too. It is now over to WECA and Regional Mayor Tim Bowles to consider our concerns and, we hope, amend their plans”.

 

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Darren responds to West of England Transport Study

As part of the West of England Combined Authority transport study, Darren has fed in comments from the various community meetings he hosted in 2018 on local transport needs.

 

You can read the full letter below and read about all of the work Darren has done on transport by clicking here.

 

Transport Upgrades across Bristol North West

 

I write in response to the ongoing consultation on the Joint Spatial Plan – Technical Evidence Consultation further to our ongoing correspondence regarding the urgent investment needs in transport across North Bristol.

 

As we are both aware, our constituents live in an area that will see continued significant development in the coming years. Additional housing is of course welcomed, but transport infrastructure that is fit for the future is needed at the same time.

 

This is in addition to the transport upgrades required off the back of the removal of the tolls on the Severn Bridge, the potential Bristol Arena site, expanding retail at Cribbs Causeway and the expected investment in Avonmouth following the installation of flood sea defences.

 

M32 Corridor

 

One of the proposals put forward is for a new Park and Ride at the Bristol end of the M32 motorway, adjacent to the current turning route for the Metrobus.

 

This will result in development on unique blue finger soil sites on both sides of the M32 (the Lockleaze side being in my constituency of Bristol North West). This area was rejected for development when the initial Metrobus route was agreed in 2014 for this reason. Further, it was widely believed that a Park & Ride so close to Bristol City Centre would fail to serve its purpose and that a site further North of the proposed site would better suit.

 

I support proposals for an M32 Park & Ride but I do not support the proposed location and will campaign for this to be situated further North into South Gloucestershire.

 

A4018

 

The A4018 is a major road route through my constituency travelling from the Bristol Rugby Club to the White Tree Roundabout (including Wyck Beck Road, Passage Road, Falcondale Road and Westbury Road).

 

In my multiple transport consultation meetings with constituents last year, Wyck Beck Road and Falcondale Road were identified as two key problem roads, due to frequent gridlock and associated air pollution.

 

I have long called for a new rail station at Henbury (and its eventual connection to Severn Beach to create the so called Henbury Loop) but have also called for a Park & Ride to reduce car volumes on the A4018 into Bristol. I know that we both agree that creating transport hubs with multi-modal connections is the best approach.

 

However, from the proposals it seems that drivers would need to drive through Henbury or North up the A4018 to park at the Park & Ride before getting the bus or rail connection.

 

These connections will be vital for retail workers at Cribbs Causeway and for into-Bristol flows, but will be absolutely crucial if the Bristol Arena is built at the Brabazon Hanger (due to out of Bristol drivers coming to the area).

 

I therefore continue to support calls for a Park & Ride at Henbury but expect to see:

 

  • A new junction connecting the M5(N) to the Henbury Train Station and Park & Ride, to prevent out of Bristol commuters from driving through Henbury to reach these services; and
  • Road upgrades and new bus lanes along the A4018 so that buses can cut through car congestion to be on time and frequent enough for them to be used by local residents. The Wyke Road part of the A4018, including the adjacent route North to Cribbs Causeway, appears to be wide enough for a new bus route without reducing the number of lanes available to cars.

 

For your information, I have also written to Highways England to seek their advice on point (1) above.

 

GBBN2 (New Bus Networks) and Cycle Routes

This current study seems to fail to set out any proposals for bus route upgrades or new cycle lanes in my constituency.

 

We have key bus route corridors in Bristol North West that can currently hold up buses for the entire city due to traffic congestion in North Bristol and which can lead to long delays and frequent cancellations for knock on routes (for example through Lawrence Weston and Shirehampton).

 

Additionally, many of my constituents will cycle North to Cribbs Causeway or South East to Bristol City Centre for work on often dangerous road networks that have intermittent or no cycle lanes.

 

I assume that proposals for new bus routes will be forthcoming, but I would like reassurance of that alongside a clear commitment to investing in proper cycle lanes too.

 

My various consultation meetings with constituents have all resulted in a clear ask for a super-cycle highway with segregated and maintained cycle lanes between our two major economic areas of Cribbs Causeway and Bristol City Centre. For note, preference has been for these routes to be off of the major roads to reduce the impact of air pollution on cyclists.

 

Missing Areas

 

I understand that this current study is only able to consider certain projects within a certain timeframe, but a number of transport issues in my constituency are notably missing:

 

  • Southmead Hospital Transport Hub

 

The B405 (Southmead Road) is also a problem road, with workers and students commuting to major employers and the University of the West of England in Filton. Residents have concerns that this will increase with the aforementioned developments across the North of Bristol including the potential Bristol Arena. Suggestions had been previously mooted for road upgrades and/or new investment into a Southmead Hospital Transport Hub. Have these now been dropped?

 

  • Avonmouth Industrial Routes

 

I understand that further transport investment can’t be considered for Avonmouth at this stage, instead having to wait for further industrial investment expected after the installation of the flood sea defences. Is that still correct?

 

Regardless, many workers in the Avonmouth / Severnside area have to drive to work or risk their safety by walking or cycling to work. Additionally, industrial traffic continues to use the minor routes along Kingsweston Lane when they should be clearly directed along the Portway and along the existing major road routes.

 

I would like to see travel routes into and around Avonmouth to become more worker friendly and for steps to be taken to properly direct industrial transport.

 

 

  • A38/Gloucester Road

 

The A38/Gloucester Road is clearly a significant challenge, as both a major road route and a busy high street environment. However, significant traffic along this route causes air pollution concerns for many local residents and my constituents have raised questions in my consultation meetings about potential mass transit routes along this road. Please can you set out any proposals you have for this cross-border route.

 

  • RPZ Parking

 

We have started to see significant nuisance parking along the connecting residential roads attached to Stoke Hill and Parrys Lane. Whilst we expect some of this to be student related (and are in ongoing correspondence with Bristol University) we assume that a great deal of this is travel-to-work related. We should therefore do all that we can to encourage park and ride and rail usage from current and proposed sites.

 

I appreciate all of these issues don’t fall under your remit as the regional Mayor, but they do provide the context for many of the requests from my constituents which result in my demands for key transport investment. These investment requests go through the West of England Combined Authority. However, I have naturally copied my colleague Mayor Marvin Rees for his information.

 

I look forward to hearing what plans the West of England Combined Authority have for each of the above issues.

 

Darren Jones MP
Member of Parliament, Bristol North West

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Darren questions government changes to low-emission car incentives.

Darren Jones MP has continued to question the government’s recent decision to remove some financial incentives to purchase plug-in hybrid and electric cars.

Darren Jones MP said:

Back in October, I slammed the government’s decision to reduce, and in some cases remove, the financial incentives to purchase ultra-low emission vehicles.

This seemed reckless and short-sighted at a time when governments across the world know they must act to reduce emissions and the health and environmental impacts of air pollution.

In follow-up, I asked the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he “made an assessment of the potential effect of reducing incentives for plug-in hybrid and electric cars on the number of purchases of those vehicles before taking the decision to reduce those incentives“.

In response, I was advised – “since 2011, the plug-in car grant has provided a discount to the price of over 170,000 cars, and disbursed over £0.7 billion to support the early market for ultra low emission vehicles. Based on internal assessments made before the change to grant rates in October 2018, we expect sales of ultra low emission cars to continue at similar levels in 2019 to those seen in 2018″.

I then asked if the government would publish the data that assessment was based on. I was told “The Government’s internal assessment relies, in part, on commercially sensitive data from manufacturers and cannot be published for that reason”.

I disagree with this conclusion and I would not be at all surprised to see the number of ultra low-emission cars being purchased significantly reduce. I am very clear – the government must support initiatives that aim to reduce emissions wherever possible – not to do so is a dereliction of their environmental responsibilities”.

You can follow Darren’s work on climate change, animal welfare and the environmental protection here.

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Darren shares concerns about Stoke Bishop Parking

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has formally shared his concerns about on-going parking issues in Stoke Bishop near the university halls of residence with the council and University of Bristol.

Darren has previously met local residents, and held multiple telephone calls with the University of Bristol about this matter.

Darren said:

“Constituents who live near the University of Bristol halls of residence in Stoke Bishop have contacted my office in recent months regarding escalating parking problems.

I first raised these concerns with the university back in July and in September was assured steps would be taken to reduce the number of cars being brought into Bristol by students as well as the impact of the remaining cars on local residents.

Residents have made it clear the situation has not improved. I have therefore shared my continued concerns with the council and university and asked they urgently consider what action can be taken to alleviate this dangerous and inconsiderate situation“.

You can view Darren’s work on Transport here.

 

 

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Darren asks Government about Bristol’s buses

Darren asked three Written Parliamentary Questions about Bristol’s buses, focused on finding how to improve them in light of several recent route changes and closures.

1.

Darren Jones, Labour, Bristol North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to replace the service on a bus route when an operator removes it; and if he will make a statement.

Nusrat Ghani, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)

The bus market in England, outside London, is deregulated and most services are provided on a commercial basis by private operators. Where there is not enough demand for a bus route to be commercially viable in its own right all local authorities have powers to subsidise bus services.

Local bus services have to be registered with the Traffic Commissioner. When an operator wants to vary or cancel a registered bus service it must provide relevant local authorities with a copy of the application at least 28 days before it makes the application to the Traffic Commissioner. Once the application has been submitted to the Traffic Commissioner the service can be varied or cancelled after 42 days, or less in certain prescribed circumstances if agreed by the Traffic Commissioner.

This system provides local authorities with time to consider the implications of a service variation or cancellation and in particular whether they wish to procure and subsidise a replacement service.

2.

Darren Jones, Labour, Bristol North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funds for the new powers to bring about change and unlock the potential for the bus industry to achieve more for passengers as set out in the Bus Services Act 2017.

Rishi Sunak, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The Secretary of State meets with ministers, including HMT ministers, regularly to discuss a range of issues relating to local government. Local authorities in England outside London spend over £1 billion a year on bus services. Over the five year period from 2015-16 to 2019-20 councils will have access to more than £200 billion, after the Autumn 2018 budget.

3. 

Darren Jones, Labour, Bristol North West

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide sufficient funding to local authorities to enable bus subsidies to return to their 2010 levels in real terms

Elizabeth Truss, The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Government support for bus services has averaged £2.2 billion a year since 2010/11, which is 23 per cent more than the average yearly spend between 1996/97 and 2009/10 in real terms.

Note: Darren is asking a follow up question to this one, because bus subsidies in 2009/10 (last year of Labour govt) was £2.47 bil (see DfT statistics here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/666804/bus0502.ods).