Fringe Box



Letter: Bus Passengers Needs Must Be Fully Appreciated in Bus Station Decision

Published on: 4 Jan, 2017
Updated on: 4 Jan, 2017

From Brian Holt

As a former coach and bus driver for 34 years, I cannot understand why people are still suggesting moving the bus station out of the town centre?

The elderly people, disabled passengers, young mothers with small children and ordinary shoppers all need to go to the town centre.

Moving the bus station away from the town centre will do nothing to get more people to use buses that do not take them into the heart of the shopping area.  Residents living in areas where they have buses passing through to other towns like Woking, Cranleigh, Aldershot, Dorking, would probably go there instead.

I have experience of dealing with local passengers, and understand their needs. Elderly people on medication need toilets and during winter months they need to keep warm in a bus station where they can have hot drinks etc. They don’t want to wait in the cold bus shelters or have to walk to another bus stand in the rain for their next bus.

But this is what the Guildford Vision Group are suggesting with their idea of bus stands in Onslow Street and no consideration of the different types of bus passengers’ requirements and needs.

And what about the bus drivers themselves? They also need toilets and a hot drink between longer journeys. How will they have these facilities at bus stands along the road?

I hope everyone will note the requirements of both the bus drivers’ and passengers’ needs when making a decision.

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Responses to Letter: Bus Passengers Needs Must Be Fully Appreciated in Bus Station Decision

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    January 4, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Brian Holt makes no mention of people who want to move on further than ‘the town centre’ as in integrated public transport. Of course no one using a bus wants to catch a train do they, so no buses actually go there.

    But I quite agree that people in the town centre need somewhere to sit and wait in comfort for a bus, have coffee and use the toilet.

    However this does not need to be a mega bus station merely a halt to allow passengers to alight and board nothing more. As for the drivers they too do need proper facilities but these can be at the intersection of bus and railway while the bus waits for the rail passengers. The rationality of having a stationary bus location away from the intersection of the public transport system still escapes me.

    It makes me wonder if integrated public transport theory is simply a ghost in Guildford blown away by irrationally high public transport prices and parking profits at railway stations?

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    January 4, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I agree with all the points made by Brian Holt but we need to be realistic about the bus station remaining where it is.

    The council, after a very long hiatus, has finally agreed with the owners of the Friary to relocate the bus station so that the owners of the Friary could proceed with the development of North Street area. So, what could be done to maintain all the existing advantages and yet move the bus station out of the Friary?

    Please study my suggestions:

    1. Relocate the bus station on Mary Road car park site.

    2. Create a mini bus hub integrated with the Friary Extension with a comfortable waiting area, Cafes and up to date electronic system of buses arriving and departing from six adjacent on-street bus bays. This is illustrated in the sketch below,-

    2. The route I suggested should be a one-way loop from Woodbridge Road off Onslow Street and going around Dominion House to up to six on-street bus bays adjacent to the waiting area and emerging back on to Onslow Street. Thus this serves the passengers from the north and the east.

    3. Buses that are going east, south, west and the railway station would stop at the two bus stops on Onlsow Street. There should also be a comfortable waiting area close to these bus stops and another one in North Street

    4. Buses from the south and the west would stop after turning into Bedford Road. From this stop, it is a very short walk across to the Friary.

    5. Buses that go to the railway station would proceed to the bus station in Mary Road. There should be a comfortable waiting area also within the railway station adjacent to the bus bays similar to the mini hub but maybe two or three bus bays would suffice.

    Therefore no one need walk too far or lug their shopping or baggage to the bus station or the railway station. Please do visit my website by searching for ‘revamp guildford gyratory’ where more detailed explanation and sketches are to be found.

  3. David Smith Reply

    January 4, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    I am confused by some of the ten options for a new bus station – Dolphin House and Debenhams for example. Is GBC the freeholder of both sites? Have Debenhams even indicated they want to cease trading in that location?

  4. Brian Holt Reply

    January 4, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Jim Allen comments ironically: “Of course no one using a bus wants to catch a train do they, so no buses actually go there.”

    There are plenty of buses passing the station entrance in Guildford Park Road every few minutes all day long, so the station is served by a good bus service already. What is the point of adding extra traffic of large buses entering in and out of the station all day at already congested road junction.

    Drivers know it’s impossible, even now, to get out of Walnut Tree Close into Bridge Street at certain rush hour times. I hate to think what would happen with all these extra 40 foot buses going in and out at the same time. A survey from bus passengers to see exactly how many passengers would want every bus to go to the station would be the best idea, but each extra stop would add even more time to their journey.

    How much extra fuel would buses waste at 10 miles to gallon? People need to remember that bus services keep being cut by Surrey County Council bus subsidy cuts.

    Comments are made as if there is going to be hundreds of rail passengers needing buses, when there is not.

    It would be better to run a minibus shuttle between the bus and railway station, if there is a real demand for the service.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      January 5, 2017 at 11:59 pm

      So which number bus do I catch from Burpham, Merrow or Cranleigh to arrive, in the dry, at Guildford Railway Station. Only those going towards the hospital from the town centre pass the station.

      And if exiting the railway station at the front end do I naturally find a bus going to Burpham? It’s half a mile walk away… or there’s a taxi outside the door. I know my choice. Because I don’t know when there will be a bus going in the right direction half a mile away I take a taxi home.

      If the bus “stationary point” is at the railway station clearly, and quite obviously, road layouts will need changing. As for fuel waste, it is wasted every time the bus arrives in the town centre half full while 50 cars (and taxis) enter the railway station to drop off passengers.

      Integrated public transport requires all classes of pedestrian to be able to hop on and hop off. If Berlin could do it in the 1980’s there is absolutely no excuse not to do it in Guildford.

      As for a survey it should be the whole borough not just existing bus passengers. I don’t use the bus at the moment – I walk.

      We need to assess who we can move from car to public transport as they depart from home to their destination. Surveying only bus passengers just solidify current usage and trends. We must look at the wider problems as we assess bus needs

      • Bibhas Neogi Reply

        January 6, 2017 at 6:14 pm

        If you study my suggestion for the road network improvements and relocation of the bus station to Mary Road car park site, together with comfortable mini hubs at the Friary Extension and the railway station, you will find that a bus from Merrow would be able to pass by the mini hub at the Friary and proceed to the bus station or the railway station.

        Those going to the hospital could carry on using either the new flyover to Guildford Park Road or go to Walnut Tree Close (WTC) over the new bridge and then to the university over the road bridge replacing Yorkie’s footbridge.

        When you come out of the railway station, take any bus as they would all go to the bus station on the one-way WTC up to the new link over the river to Mary Road/ Leas Road. It couldn’t be any simpler or convenient.

    • John Robson Reply

      January 6, 2017 at 9:26 am

      Yet another “survey” required in “consultation town”? How much debate do we have to endure to accomplish anything in Guildford.

      The existing bus station is only 0.4 miles or an eight minute walk from the train station (Google Maps). Surely if we want a nice new, clean North street development the logical conclusion would be to couple the two transport systems together into a nice new, integrated transport hub. Mini buses for an eight minute walk between stations? Really?

      The Walnut Tree Close argument is irrelevant, it’s impossible to move in Guildford at most times of the day – and that’s another story / consultation – but if you make it even easier for commuters to get to the train station, thus leaving their cars at home, this should reduce traffic, shouldn’t it?

    • Ben Paton Reply

      January 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      It seems rather obvious that if there were a regular service from different parts of the town to the railway station that a significant percentage of commuters might use it.
      Shouldn’t getting people onto public transport be part of the so-called ‘modal shift’?

      And any visitor to Guildford arriving by train would be rather glad to find a bus service – rather than having to rely on an expensive taxi.

  5. Margaret Jackson Reply

    January 5, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Hear, hear!

    Surely a decent bus station is a minimum requirement for any town, especially one which is struggling with traffic problems whilst also trying to attract visitors.

  6. Sevy Singh Reply

    January 5, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Why not close North Street off to all traffic except buses and vehicles delivering to businesses that could only be serviced from North Street?

    The street, with some small adaptions, could serve as the bus station. Guildford planners always seems embarrassed about the street market, but Guildford should be proud to have one and it should be located on the High Street.

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