A feasibility study on a potential Link and Ride bus service along the A4 between Chippenham and Bath has been published today (4 October). The study is the first of its kind to be undertaken on the A4 and one of the few studies to examine a Link and Ride scheme in such detail.

Bath & North East Somerset Council (B&NES) has pledged to reduce the number of private car journeys to Bath. There are currently over 28,000 daily journeys to Bath, the majority of which come from Wiltshire to the east, along the A4 and the wider B&NES area. This will not only protect our World Heritage Site, but will also help us achieve our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030, in line with our climate emergency and our journey to net zero priorities.

To reduce car journeys on the A4, we need to consider a range of options, including improving bus and train services. It is proposed to reopen Corsham station in Wiltshire, which is fully supported by Bath & North East Somerset Council, which would transform the way people travel along this busy route. However, as this is likely to take a long time, we need to find a faster solution that will help address our climate emergency in the short to medium term. Previous studies at a traditional Park and Ride site east of Bath concluded that no suitable site was available. It is therefore proposed that a Link and Ride scheme could offer a viable, attractive and sustainable solution for those who live and travel along the A4.

Link and Ride works the same way as a traditional Park and Ride, intercepting traffic before it reaches the city center. However, instead of having one large Park and Ride clearinghouse, which people may have to walk a long way to reach, Link and Ride provides several smaller clearinghouses, at strategic locations along a defined route, which allow people to arrive on foot, by bicycle or by car (as shown in the diagram below).

The feasibility study tested many different scenarios to better understand how a Link and Ride bus service could work between Chippenham and Bath. Introducing a series of smaller interchange hubs, in places along the A4 such as Corsham and Box, could allow more people to walk, cycle or drive to a local hub, before taking a quick and direct bus service to Bath city centre. The study suggests the greatest impact would be achieved by building on existing X31 service, along with a combination of lower fares, higher frequency services and bus priority measures to reduce traffic.

Adviser Sarah Warren, Deputy Chief and Cabinet Member for Climate and Sustainable Travel, said: “This is the first time we have undertaken a feasibility study on a possible Link and Ride scheme in Bath and North East Somerset. The study sets out our initial findings and recommendations and provides a good platform to move forward and discuss the idea further with the West of England Combined Authority, as the region’s transport authority, the Wiltshire Council and local transport stakeholders, including our own Journey to Net Zero Transport forum.

“If our communities had access to a fast, reliable and safe alternative to the car, like a Link and Ride program, it could not only to help combat traffic congestion and improve air quality, but also allow more people to consider leaving their car at home to walk or cycle to the nearest hub, while providing a more short for those who still need to use a car.

“We understand that for a Link and Ride scheme to be well utilized and therefore commercially viable, it needs to be part of wider demand management measures in Bath as set out in our Journey to Net Zero plan. It would also require bus priority everywhere and adaptations would have to be made to the traffic pattern on London Road to achieve this.

“In order to better understand the wider benefits, impacts and sustainability of a Link and Ride program, we need to undertake further analysis, including community and stakeholder engagement, before any decisions can be made. socket. This would help identify who would potentially use Link and Ride, the type of rides currently undertaken, where exchange hubs could be located and how they could best be utilized. This would include safe drop-off points for people with reduced mobility or children on their way to school, as well as possible locations for our electric scooters.

To read the full feasibility study, visit council website.