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Centrelink - should it be free?


Free Centrelink bus?  

8 members have voted

  1. 1. Free Centrelink bus?

    • Yes
    • No


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Centrelink is a town centre orbital loop bus service, connecting Central and Bank Quay Railway Stations, the Bus Interchange, the Market, and Centre Park.

 

I noticed in recent days the vehicle has been upgraded from a step-access Metrorider (midibus type) to a brand-new, low-floor, single decker bus. However, you still see it carries fresh air around for most of the day!

 

Even those passengers with tickets for interchanging trains between Central and Bank Quay have to pay!

 

I am guessing the route is already subsidised (NWDA stumped up ?20k in 2002).

 

Similar buses elsewhere are successful and, more importantly free,

 

Manchester has its Metroshuttles (over 2.2 million journeys during 2007), Sheffield has its FreeBee, Huddersfield/Wakefield/Leeds their FreeCityBus, Chester has its free to rail ticket holders only, but importantly all these towns/cities have city/town management companies, working together with public and private funding to run these buses for the people and vitality of town trade.

 

So why isn't Warrington made a success of its scheme?

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Because Warrington is like that. They seem to think that expanding Golden Square (which I think is pretty good now personally) has done enough to attract the customers back... even though they insist on charging for parking or charging ridiculous amounts on the buses to get into town.

 

The shuttle bus is the same. It works in other towns because it is free or subsidised... Warrington won't do that because it means they can't hand out 16k a time expenses to certain councillors for being on certain comittees. No money left after the politicians have had their expenses fill!

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As you are no doubt aware, nothing is free so the question is who should pay? :? The concept of an integrated transport system, was that one pays for the whole journey from A to B, irrespective of the number and type of modes used; not an easily achieved objective with multiple private operators. :roll: There is also the question of cost: how in an age of so-called green awareness, it can be cheaper to fly than use a bus or train, is puzzling. :? Why fares charged for using all modes of "public" transport are not made cheaper or even free, and subsidised by taxation via a Nationalised Integrated Transport Service, is a mystery?! :cry:

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Warrington *should* be different, we have the benefit of an community based, local owned, bus service. It should be easier and simpler to introduce it here than anywhere else!

 

We all "pay" at the end of the day, whether at the point-of-use or through council tax, Vehicle Excise Duty, etc. Just it makes it more "attractive" if it is "free" at the point of use.

 

Integrated multi-modal smartcard ticketing is on its way, the test scheme is the free over 60's/disabled national concession pass that began April 2008. It has the little blue "ITSO" logo ready for use. Similar schemes have already been in operation (London - Oyster, Nottingham - easyrider, Hong Kong - Octopus, Netherlands - OVChipkaart) across modes and private companies.

 

The technology has been in NW England since the early 1990's, ready to be introduced. Paper-based solutions have been in Germany and Netherlands (Strippenkaart) for decades. What has been the hold up is SLOW movement from local councillors and government officers having numerous meetings on different committees, taking far too long to come up with action!

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I'm suggesting, that the reason for slow progress (aside from a lack of political will) is "political control" - the only way to integrate the system is to have an integrated control of all public transportation - in other words - nationalise and subsidise it. :wink:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'll vote yes on principle, but I have the following concerns when it comes to Centrelink:

 

* I don't think the town centre is spread out enough to support a free bus service if it weren't for the Centre Park element

 

* It doesn't run on Saturdays, so isn't much use for shoppers, but most of the offices at Centre Park will be closed on Saturdays

 

* I don't believe there are very many rail passengers who transfer between the two town centre stations

 

* Central station is already in the middle of town next to the Interchange so doesn't necessarily need linking to anywhere as such

 

* A twenty minute frequency isn't very attractive - I could have walked into town from Bank Quay before the next bus arrives

 

* The bus stop(s) at Bank Quay station aren't very well located for the station - being on the opposite side of the road and no bus shelter

 

I suspect what we've got is the best we are going to get given the current funding criteria.

 

What would make more sense to me is extending one or more existing, non-free bus services from the Interchange onwards to terminate at Bank Quay. Or diverting some services that pass the town hall to operate via the station. You would then have a more frequent service which would tie Bank Quay station into the local bus network - and which could even run in the evenings and at weekends. Offer free onward connections for rail and bus ticket holders between Bank Quay and the Interchange.

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extend it to Tesco & Sainsburys, plaster the buses with their logos and get them to pay for it!

 

Voila!

 

However agree with JMac that making other services go via BQ would help as would proper stops and a better frequency.

Send those that go up bridge street round that way and along sankey street?

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