Successful Travel Plan Network Cooperation Leads to New Bus Services for UK Business Centre Employees
The role of the Travel Plan Network of West Yorkshire Combined Authority in the UK is to support organisations within West Yorkshire to implement sustainable travel initiatives, principally around collective public transport. In a successful cooperation with a local business park and shopping centre, the local city council and transport operator, new bus services are have been initiated in order to provide better accessibility for employees in these centres of business, increase the competitiveness of the parks in the region and to reduce single occupancy car trips to these sites.
Calder Park, a business park with 4,000 employees, is located on the edge of Wakefield, West Yorkshire in the UK. The Park’s Travel Plan Manager has been working with West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s (WYCA) Travel Plan Network over the past 12 months to identify measures to improve accessibility to the Park, whose site is immediately adjacent to the M1 motorway and, thus, many employees travel to work by single occupancy car.
Not only is high degree of single occupancy car trips a problem, but the White Rose Shopping Centre, also located at the Park has determined a turnover problem directly linked to staff that live in a town called Middleton, which is 5 kilometres from the shopping centre. Middleton was serviced by bus number 12 which only ran once an hour. People who lived in Middleton were opting to work in Leeds City Centre where there were more frequent public transport links. In order to develop a solution for this challenge and provide better accessibility to the Park for employees, Travel Plan Co-ordinator at White Rose Shopping Centre, Stephanie Hunter, contacted WYCA for help. Lead by WYCA’s Travel Plan Network, a consultation process was conducted over a period of a year, which resulted in the recommendation of extending the bus service to every ten minutes. This service received a funding agreement by Leeds City Council and Land Securities (the management company for White Rose Centre) for the first four years and the transport provider, Firstbus, agreed to fund a further two years. The Travel Plan Network team held an event with employees at White Rose Shopping to promote the extension of the bus service number 12. Employees talked about how more frequent buses makes the shopping centre a more desirable place to work and that by not having to worry about missing the bus or arriving much earlier than their shift meant it will improve the quality of their life.
The Travel Plan Manager also recently brought together the Travel Plan Network with the Council and local bus operator, Arriva, to jointly identify potential solutions to address worsening pressures on car parking. A survey was undertaken with employees to identify the likely use of bus services, should they be diverted from their existing route to serve the business park. On the back of this, from the 22nd May, service 443 will enter the business park in the morning and evening peak periods, providing better links between the city centre, train station and Calder Park. A launch event is to be held to raise awareness of the service changes and encourage employees to use the bus. The Travel Plan Network has also previously assisted the employees at Calder Park by offering free MCard tickets (WYCA’s public transport smart card) and personalised journey planning at Calder Park.
The Travel Plan Network (TPN) is a way in which the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) in the UK is moving employees and employers towards greener ways to work by promoting sustainable travel solutions. At present, it is a free service to employers that offers employees with discounted public transport, heavily discounted public transport for business travel, in-house tailored travel planning, examples of which are the provision of real time Information displays, cycling, ride-sharing, car-sharing and walking initiatives. In exchange for this service, 30% of employees must complete an annual travel survey. Employers receive regular newsletters tailored to their in-house travel co-ordinators and a separate one for employees, which has a current reach of about 250,000 employees in the West Yorkshire region.