20 October 2010

The Northern Connection

Transport improvements along the Northern Corridor (the main route from Derriford into the city centre) have been given the thumbs up in a survey of regular travellers.
Last year the City Council invested around £2 million in a package of improvement works, developed using feedback from public consultation carried out in 2007.
Improvements included a £750,000 upgrade of the George park and ride site, new bus and cycle lanes, real time passenger information displays at bus stops, raised kerbs to help people get on and off buses, pedestrian crossing improvements and resurfacing works.
People travelling along the route were asked to evaluate the improvements through an online survey and the majority of respondents said they felt the works had had a positive impact on buses and bus users (70 per cent) and on taxis, motorbikes and scooters (63 per cent). Of the 146 people who responded, 83 per cent travel daily on the corridor.
The results of the survey show that the improvements appear to be benefitting bus lane users, with no negative impact on the travelling experience of motorists, cyclists or pedestrians.
The new bus lane outside Derriford Hospital, which connects with the bus lane on Derriford Road, has improved 63 per cent of bus users’ journeys to and from Derriford and 40 per cent of motorists reported that they would now consider using public transport to get to the hospital.
New digital messaging signs on the roadside and real time passenger information (RTPI) displays at bus stops were also well received. Sixty-nine per cent of taxi users, motorcyclists and scooter users said they found the messaging signs useful for planning their journeys and 81 per cent of bus passengers said they found the RTPI displays at bus stops useful.
Both bus passengers and motorists said the removal of some of the right hand turns off Outland Road had been effective but some felt that this needed to be better enforced and the Council is now looking to address this.
Only 13 cyclists and pedestrians completed the survey but seven of these respondents said that improvements such as the additional bus and cycle lanes and resurfacing on Tavistock Road had improved their overall cycling experience. This is very encouraging because cyclists were among those least satisfied with the facilities on the Northern Corridor in 2007. The Council will continue work to improve the continuity of cycling infrastructure on the corridor.
Improvements that people are least satisfied with appear to be those at Drake Circus, where motorists report that they are still experiencing problems with the new road layout. It typically takes around six months for drivers to familiarise themselves with a new road layout so some uncertainty is to be expected. However, the situation is improving and the scheme is helping to address congestion on this part of the network. The Council will continue to monitor traffic flow in this area.
Councillor Kevin Wigens, Cabinet Member for Transport said: "We’re really pleased that improvements along the Northern Corridor have had a positive impact on buses, taxis, motorbikes and scooters without affecting other motorists or pedestrians. The programme of works was developed using feedback from people travelling on this route and it’s great that they have seen improvements to their journeys so quickly.
"We would like to thank everyone who completed the latest survey and will use their feedback to guide future programmes of work on the corridor. One of the areas we plan to look at is the section between the George park and ride and Woolwell, the ‘pinch point’ most frequently mentioned in public comments.”
The 2009/10 programme of improvements is part of a continuing investment on the Northern Corridor, with works this year focusing on Manadon roundabout. Improvements here include a more responsive and energy-efficient traffic light system, new lane designations, clearer signage and the repainting of white lines and road markings designed to reduce queuing and congestion on all approaches to the roundabout, including the A38 slip roads.
Transport improvements along this key route, alongside policies and planning documents such as the Derriford and Seaton Area Action Plan, will help to support the growth of the city and improve the travelling experience and choices of everyone using this part of the city's transport network.
For more information and to view the full results of the survey visit our Northern Corridor web pages.
Plymouth City Council Press Release
Taxifast SF08BUUMeanwhile, talking about the Northern Corridor, the Northern Connect Taxibus service mentioned yesterday is indeed back up and running normally again and the drivers seem happy that it is safe for now at least. TaxiFast have gone bust and the service is now being run by TaxiFirst...
TAXI mogul John Preece has shut his Plymouth companies blaming a high street bank for driving them out of business. Mr Preece today told The Herald he had been left with no option than to cease the trading activities of his firms Taxifast Ltd and its parent company Key Cabs Ltd. A separate Plymouth taxi firm, in which Mr Preece is not involved, has made an offer to Taxifast staff and drivers to join it. And calls to the Taxifast offices were yesterday being dealt with by a separate company too.
More on this story on This is Plymouth
There is a brief statement put out by TaxiFirst:
Dear Sir or Madam -
Re: Taxifirst Limited Brief Statement
Sadly, due to all the rumours and scaremongering in and around Plymouth over the last few days, while we have been mailing our backup caff centre, we have had a lot of drivers in complaining about the uncertainty within the company and drivers leaving. This was seeping through to our customer base and contracts. I have taken the necessary steps to protect the workforce of 48 PAYE workers and 300 self-employed drivers as follows:
This is to inform you that Taxifast Ltd / Key Cabs Ltd has ceased trading. TAXIFIRST LTD is solely owned by DAVID TRACE - THERE IS NO OUTSIDE INFLUENCE.
May I thank you in anticipation for your support and in return I will endeavour to support you. To ail of you I offer my best wishes for the future as the company grows, good luck.
Yours most respectfully,
David Trace
(I have left out the details dealing with the financial business between drivers and the company)

Today, as I had a few hours free in the middle of the day, I visited the west Hampshire town of Romsey. Southern England Bus Scene
Since it is the site's birthday and I have nothing to report on from the weekend just past I hope you won't mind if I take this occasion to go through a few favourite views of favourite places and their vehicles. Transport Illustrated (new look!)
Who would have thought that the boss of transport giant Stagecoach would stray into a market at which many consider him to be at odds? I was shocked. Transport of Delight

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