Last Friday, 14 June, I chaired the latest West of England Combined Authority Committee, and with our region’s other leaders, I was delighted to approve investment into a number of public transport projects which will do so much to help reduce congestion and pollution, while connecting residents to jobs.
This included £3.5m for the next stage of our local rail plans. Our plans are to provide an additional half hourly service between Bristol Parkway and Yate, as well as new services on a reopened Henbury line. I am thrilled that this new line will see new stations built at Henbury, North Filton and Ashley Down, connecting new communities to the railways. We also agreed to progress plans for a new station serving Charfield and the surrounding towns and villages, investing £900,000 to develop the full business case.
Our plans for rail could benefit 80,000 residents, giving them the opportunity to leave the car at home. An additional 180,000 people will also see their existing rail services improved.
Another major transport project we gave the green light to was the Cribbs Patchway Metrobus extension, which will link Bristol Parkway railway station and The Mall at Cribbs Causeway. This £56.9m investment will connect both existing and future residential areas to major employment sites and our region’s wider transport network. This builds upon the existing success of metrobus which is used by hundreds of thousands of people every month. I was very encouraged by a recent passenger survey which shows an 18% shift from cars to metrobus. This proves that if we invest in good public transport options people will leave their cars at home, helping to tackle congestion and pollution.
To give residents a true variety of transport options, we also invested in walking and cycling routes; we agreed to invest in the Bath River Line project which will see a new 5km walking and cycling route connecting Bath city centre to Newbridge via the new Bath Quays development.
All these investments are so important as we work hard to further reduce our region’s carbon emissions, improve the air we breathe and ensure continued sustainable economic growth which benefits everybody.