The future of public transport in Winchester

Press Release: 18/08/2014

The future of public transport in Winchester is about more than the future of its bus station.

That is the message from Cllr Mike Southgate, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities & Transport.

Cllr Southgate said:

We want to ensure that the needs of the bus companies and bus users in Winchester are met and are aligned with the Silver Hill development. This development will prompt a rethink on the way buses are managed in the city and also offers an opportunity to carry out a wider review of bus services across the city in conjunction with cycling and pedestrian access issues. The County Council’s review of the one-way system is an important component of this process.

I am therefore urging Hampshire County Council to complete its review of the one-way system as the starting point in conjunction with Silver Hill. This may yield a range of different travel opportunities involving interchange between the city and railway station, the hospital and so on. It may also bring improvements in air quality.

Cllr Southgate is meeting the County Council and the two largest local bus operators, Stagecoach and Bluestar, to progress matters with them.

He said:

As part of the Silver Hill regeneration Winchester will benefit from a modern bus/travel interchange with high-quality shelters, real-time bus information, a ticket office and public toilets, all in a brightly-lit main thoroughfare with better security and refreshment facilities.

The issue of the bus station has caused some concerns which are understandable, but we have to face the fact that no one is prepared to run or maintain a bus station. As such we have actively developed an alternative in the form of a bus interchange which I believe will provide all of the benefits of a modern bus station just in a different way. This will involve having bus stops in two locations, but that would have been the case with the original scheme anyway due to the large numbers of bus services, coaches and community transport schemes which serve Winchester. Cross-city services may well be improved. We will work with the County Council and operators to make this work through very careful and high-quality design of walking routes, public information and associated facilities. We will also work with the operators to locate services together where we know that onward journeys involve changing from one bus service to another.

And I say all of this not just as Portfolio Holder for Transport but as a regular user of Bluestar 1.