Maria said, “Historically Basingstoke has relied heavily on access by car, for retail, for business and for leisure, but COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our relationships with our towns. We have seen clear changes in where we want to live in, on how we use our green spaces, how we shop, how we work and especially on how we travel.”
As people work more flexibly, there is a real opportunity to rethink and improve public transport to serve the needs of residents and visitors to Basingstoke. I met with Marc Reddy the new Managing Director for Stagecoach South to discuss current local bus service provision and their plans for improvement in our town. We also spoke about the need to ensure that when we are planning for the future, any new housing development can be served by a commercial bus services, to help regeneration of not only our town but to ensure a thriving bus network.
Majority of public transport journeys continue to be taken by bus and I want to encourage the Borough Council to make “one-year free bus travel” a non-negotiable and locally set requirement for developers to help and mitigate the impact of any new housing development. This will not only help residents financially but will also play a part in helping our Borough to reach net zero.”
It was really encouraging to learn about recent recruitment drive, meaning that there are now only five vacancies and 85% of bus routes are now commercial. The bus fleet has low floor access for residents with mobility difficulties and a robust deep clean regime is in place to ensure health and safety of all passengers.”