TRAINS from Yate to Bristol and to Gloucester will soon be running half-hourly rather than every hour.
Our railway services have never quite given us what we need, and haven’t kept up with the pace of change in South Gloucestershire.
One service from Yate an hour in each direction, often with too few carriages, means it just hasn’t been practical enough to be an option for many residents.
Since being elected in 2015, I have campaigned relentlessly for half-hourly services from Yate to Bristol and Gloucester.
I have taken the issue to Parliament, South Gloucestershire Council, the West of England Combined Authority and Rail ministers more times than I can remember.
And together, we demonstrated through my surveys and increased passenger numbers, that there is significant local demand to now increase train services from Yate to Bristol and Gloucester.
Progress often felt too slow, but we did move the campaign forward a couple of years ago when the government funded the track changes at the ‘Bristol East’ railway junction at Temple Meads that were needed to make half hourly trains possible.
In January, I held a debate in Parliament to put pressure on GWR and ministers to finally deliver this vital service for our community.
The Rail Minister confirmed that services between Yate and Bristol and Gloucester will be doubled to two trains per hour from the May timetable change. It was brilliant to hear.
Half-hourly services will make rail a more viable option for many people locally, reducing journey times, taking cars off the road and reducing emissions.
It is excellent news, and I want to thank everyone who has supported this campaign over several years.
It’s taken some time, however it’s a key part of our positive plan for transport in South Gloucestershire and I am delighted we are almost there.
Of course, the frequency of train services is not the only transport priority we face in South Gloucestershire.
Fighting for our local bus services and improving our roads remains a key part of our local plan, however we must make progress with other forms of transport which provide invaluable links to health services, schools, and employment at the same time.
We are making progress. We have built the park and ride offering direct services to the city centre and Southmead Hospital, have invested in off-road cycling routes such as the Yate Spur, and explored options for a Frampton Cotterell bypass.
I am now pushing to deliver Junction 18A onto the M4, re-open Charfield Station, fight to improve the frequency and reliability of local bus services, and fix the potholes throughout our rural villages.
We will work together to make South Gloucestershire an even better place to live, work and raise a family.