£300k funding award paves the way to get MetroBus into Parkway

Photo of Bristol Parkway Station with the MetroBus logo superimposed.

A decision by the West of England Combined Authority (Weca) to allocate £300,000 towards the cost of a scheme to enhance bus/rail interchange facilities at Bristol Parkway Station has paved the way for work to begin in the coming months.

A recent report by South Gloucestershire Council, which is leading the project, says the current facilities for interchange are “dated”. Furthermore, buses can only enter the station from the western entrance, limiting the options for future bus growth and the range of services available.

The original MetroBus network, as described in the planning application for the North Fringe to Hengrove Package (NFHP) bus rapid transit scheme, included a route between Emersons Green and Bristol Parkway via UWE, but this was silently dropped during the construction phase. It later emerged that this was because MetroBus vehicles could not currently enter and leave the station via the eastern (Hunts Ground Road) entrance due to the constrained nature of the site.

More recently, First Bus boss James Freeman explained that the issue is actually one of buses coming in via the eastern entrance not being able to execute a turnaround manoeuvre so that they can go out the same way.

Opening of the station’s eastern entrance for bus use is part of the proposed scheme.

The main improvements and changes that will be made are:

  • Two new bus shelters for local bus services incorporating real-time information (RTI) displays, lighting and seating
  • Two new branded stops for MetroBus and local services, with new shelters and RTI units (to provide the capacity for MetroBus and local supporting additional bus calls on the forecourt)
  • An electronic information point and off-bus ticket dispenser
  • Changes to taxi and drop off provision
  • Remodelling of the station forecourt to allow the new bus stops and bus movements to be implemented
  • Re-alignment of part of the access road to the station from the east

The estimated total cost of the scheme is £650,000, with the balance being made up of £150,000 from station operator GWR, £97,000 previously provided from the NFHP MetroBus scheme (for shelter and iPoint) and £103,000 from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (£103,000).

Designs have been completed and, now that funding has been confirmed, it is understood that GWR will undertake and complete the works during the 2019/20 financial year.

There was never any plan for buses on the Hengrove Park to Cribbs Causeway route (now known as the M1) to make a diversion into and back out of the station. Whether this might change in the future is open to speculation, but to do so would significantly add to M1 journey times which are already bettered by the less frequent T1 service.

The Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Bus Extension (linking Parkway with The Mall) is not expected to be operational until 2022. Whether a commercial operator can be found to operate a MetroBus service to the station during the intervening two years remains an open question.

More information and related links:

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on page 11). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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