Sponsored by Colin Buchanan
Schemes submitted for this award can consist of bus priority measures, bus stations, route infrastructure work or a mixture of all three. The judges were looking in particular for schemes which, amongst other things, provided:
- Positive benefits - without unintended disbenefits
- Good design - which meets operators' requirements
- Quality - of both service and infrastructure
- Bus priority - on routes seen by operators as important
This Award was open to transport authorities and bus operators working separately or together to achieve overall benefits for the community.
Winner: Kent County Council - Fastrack Bus Rapid Transit
From the outset, Fastrack planning focussed on delivering a service that would transform perceptions of bus travel and deliver mode shift. Extensive busways and other priority measures delivering journey time reliability, together with high quality stop infrastructure mirror the customer-perceived benefits of a light rail system and have already changed perceptions of local bus travel. The judges were very impressed by this innovative major scheme to deliver modal shift in a rapidly developing area. The partnership aspects were impressive and the use of busways, reallocation of roadspace to buses, bus priority enforecement and integrated interactive information systems have already proved effective: with patronage already at 50% above forecast customer satisfaction survey results (94% good or excellent) demonstrate that key objectives have been met.
Runner Up: South Yorkshire - Doncaster Interchange
Doncaster Frenchgate Interchange is the new public transport hub for Doncaster, linking a state-of-the-art bus station to the town’s railway station. Opened in June 2006, it brings together all the town’s bus services for the first time to provide easy interchange, and is linked to current and planned bus priority schemes across the Borough. The new Bus Interchange was a key part of the £200m Frenchgate Interchange Development delivered under a Private Finance Initiative that also provides for comprehensive maintenance. Some 12 million passengers a year are expected to use the Interchange. The judges were impressed by the partnership aspects of the project as outlined in the submission, and the degree of involvement of those who would use the new facilities, both as staff (e.g. the bus driver induction programme) and customers.
Leicester City Council - St. Margaret's Bus Station
Following a £1.5million refurbishment, St Margaret's Bus Station, Leicester, now has improved passenger facilities and information systems making it more user friendly. Improvements include state-of-the-art, electronic information displays,new seats, bins, left-luggage lockers and a new coat of paint.' The waiting room and toilets have been refurbished, the cafe extended and new offices created forArriva, National Express and Skills. A massive regeneration is taking place in Leicester city centre which includes segregated bus links serving the expanded retail areas. The bus station is a key arrival point and a vital link in the city’s transport network, but was being left behind by all the other city centre improvements. The judges were impressed with how the relatively low cost refurbishment has vastly improved passenger facilities and electronic information systems, making the station much more user-friendly, and an advertisement for public transport much more in keeping with the upgraded surrounding area.
Stockport MBC - Town Centre Movement Management
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council’s Town Centre Movement Management project has provided a bold visual statement to all road users that public transport is seen as a priority within Stockport. The scheme has delivered substantial and consistent journey time savings for buses serving the town centre. It consists of three priority schemes on the eastern side of Stockport town centre, including a bus-only link road through the Portwood roundabout island. The physical segregation of buses at the ‘gateways’ and in the centre has improved the public perception of the reliability of bus services. Delivery of the scheme required teamwork and commitment from all the partners, from initial feasibility through to construction, using a Framework Partnership during consultation followed by an Alliance Partnership during construction. Stockport’s entry demonstrates extremely well that bus schemes do not have to be grandiose and expensive to be effective and the scheme could be a model for other local authorities wanting to get the best out of roadspace to the benefit of buses, without major cost.
WY Metro - Raised Kerbs Programme
Metro has developed, with its partners, a clear vision for easy and dignified access onto buses in West Yorkshire, especially for people with mobility problems, but also helping mothers with children in pushchairs. The programme comprises raised kerbs, clearways, new shelters and bus stops with clear guidance and design standards for accessible bus stop infrastructure developed through consultation and evaluation. These standards underpin a programme of accessibility improvements and over 5,200 bus stops will have been improved by 2011. Studies on the physical accessibility of public transport have highlighted the importance of the bus stop environment. Whilst raised kerbs and other improvements to bus stop infrastructure are not innovative, the judges were impressed by the scale of the project, and the partnership across the whole of West Yorkshire which has developed a clear vision for easy and dignified access onto buses, and standards for bus stop infrastructure which have been developed through consultation and evaluation. This is a very large project of low-cost schemes: evaluation shows a really positive impact on people’s lives.