Transport Infrastructure Task Force

Meeting with Isle of Wight Bus and Rail Group (IWBRUG) 23 September 2016

Matters for consideration

1 The Task Force Vision and Objectives

- Would benefit from inclusion of references

(a) to the provision of services that are frequent as well as safe, secure, accessible and affordable

(b) in respect of buses, to the provision of an Island-wide network of services.

2 A New Transport Model

- As noted in your Terms of Reference – Scope of the Works – paragraph 8 (buses) – what is this New Model?

3 Island Line

- Our position in respect of Island Line is set out in our Policy Statement.

- We would welcome an insight/update regarding both the DfT’s and Mr Garnett and the Task Force’s current position/preferred option.

4 Bus priority schemes could be considered at:

- South Street, Newport

- Lake Hill/ Beachfield Road

- Lake, Sandown Road – junction with Newport Road

- Hunnyhill/ Cowes Road

- Fairlee Road into Newport

- Blackwater Road/ St Georges Approach into Newport

5 Bus shelters with seating

- Should be provided at all well used bus stops

6 Real Time Information

- Displays should be provided at all well used bus stops (with shelters)

- Multi modal displays where relevant

7 Ryde Interchange

- Modernise/ revise the current arrangements

- Improve the interchange option with Hovertravel services

8 Park and Ride

- Park and ride is likely to be most successful at Newport.

- Routes into the town via Fairlee Road and Blackwater Road are probably best options for park and ride especially if combined with bus priority schemes

9 Connectivity between modes

- Short of re-nationalisation of bus, rail and cross Solent ferry services it is difficult to see how the competing commercial priorities of the various operators can ever be tempered into consideration of true inter-modal connectivity as a scheduling priority. We would welcome the views of the Task Force as to how this might be achieved.

 At the meeting we actually started by asking Mr Garnett detailed questions regarding the funding and political pathways that would have to be followed to turn identified infrastructure projects into bids, so that we could more fully understand the required processes and thereby measure our position against that backdrop. 

We were disappointed that only Mr Garnett was present for our presentation as we had spent some time identifying and discussing possible infrastructure projects with our membership and taken the time and effort to submit to the Task Force in advance a detailed outline of them. So at the meeting we didn't get the sense we were presenting to a task force, only to Mr Garnett.

So far as we are aware, local task force members from the IOW appear to have little or no relevant bus or railway business experience or background. They appear to be in the Task Force because they are local and are members of the wider business community.

At the presentation Mr Garnett was confident in discussing possible funding streams for Island Line but he said that bids for funding for all other transport infrastructure projects would have to go through the Solent LEP and would therefore be prioritised by the Solent LEP,  and that they also had to be bids amounting to £1 million plus. We came away having no confidence that funding for anything other than, possibly, Island Line, was likely to result.

In respect of Island Line, we were confused that on the one hand Mr Garnett was assuring us that Island Line would continue to operate and be within the South West Trains franchise, whilst on the other hand he was suggesting, presumably upon advice from his sources at the DfT, that Island Line would have to maintain completely separate accounting records, a requirement not currently imposed on any other branch line, or indeed any other component of the SW Trains franchise.

In respect of Island Line, we have the impression that Mr Garnett is acting as an enabler and advocate for the DfT's preferred outcome.  The semblance of community consultation and democratic process that the Task Force puts out publically was somewhat contradicted by the impression we got through the lack of Task Force attendees at our meeting. We feel it is basically Mr Garnett's views and preferences that are likely to prevail.

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