27 February 2013
A new approach to buses has shown that cooperation can help prevent decline in bus use and attract more passengers.
Since 2012, bus users in St Albans have been benefiting from Network St Albans; a partnership bringing together local authorities, transport operators, bus companies, the University of Hertfordshire and groups representing passengers to help improve bus services in the area.
The partnership is one of the many BigHertsBigIdeas projects currently taking place to support public transport and economic growth in St Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead. A review of the partnership has highlighted its strengths in identifying and addressing local transport issues. This has led to new investment, new buses and better services; increasing the viability of public transport journeys by up to 20 per cent in some areas of the city.
Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport and Chair of Network St Albans steering group, said:
"Network St Albans shows that if you offer better bus services, make them easy to use and join them up with other public transport, then more people use them. There is no magic wand. It's a straightforward approach which other towns and cities need to learn from."
Benefits brought about by the establishment of Network St Albans include increased service frequency and new routes which are better matched to passenger needs. The network is also working to ensure passengers are provided with better information through maps, real-time information at bus stops and via a mobile phone application. In addition to this, smart ticketing can now be used on multiple transport types and operators and two new green hybrid buses have been launched, which improve local air quality and reduce overall environmental impact.
Improvements to bus services in St Albans have been achieved despite a difficult operating environment for buses nationally after reductions in overall support from central Government.
Following the success of Network St Albans plans are underway to introduce the model in Watford and Hemel Hempstead later this year.
For national and trade media inquiries contact Andrew Allen, Campaign for Better Transport 020 7566 6483 / 07984 773 468 firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Creating and Delivering a Voluntary Network Partnership in St Albans, Hertfordshire, was carried out by the Centre for Sustainable Communities at the University of Hertfordshire.
2. Network St Albans aims to create an integrated public transport network through partnership, to improve the quality of life and local economy by providing local residents and visitors with a real and attractive alternative for many of the journeys currently made by private vehicles. This will help to cut traffic congestion and related air and noise pollution, assist businesses in the city to recruit and retain staff and maintain the city’s position as an attractive visitor destination. More information is available on the Network St Albans website http://networkstalbans.co.uk/
Partners in Network St Albans are:
Primary Partners: Arriva the Shires & Essex, Campaign for Better Transport, Centrebus, First Capital Connect, Hertfordshire County Council, London Midland, Metroline, St Albans City & District Council, Sullivan Bus and Coach Limited, University Bus & Uno Bus and University of Hertfordshire.
Associate Partners: Holywell Hill Group, Fresh Ways to Work Project, St Albans and District Chamber of Commerce, St Albans and Harpenden Taxi Association, St Albans Cycle Campaign.
3. In the summer of 2012, Hertfordshire County Council successfully secured £9.7million from the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund to put towards BigHertsBigIdeas; a package of projects aimed at improving sustainable transport and local economic growth in Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans. The money secured from LSTF will be further supported by match contributions totaling £3.3million from the county council and other local partners and will be spent on a number of schemes in the three areas over until March 2015.