Portway Park & Ride station is finally open. But after all the excitement of the opening ceremony, one question keeps cropping up: why do we need a train station when there is already a frequent bus service into Bristol? Which is best – bus or train?
Race to Castle Bridge
YouTuber JenOnTheMove recently conducted a race from Portway Park & Ride Station to Castle Bridge, the serpentine footbridge between Castle Park and the Left Handed Giant Brewpub. One team took the No.9 Park and Ride bus to The Horsefair, while the other took the train to Temple Meads. As a piece of YouTube jeopardy this was a bit of fun, rather in the style of the races BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ used to confect.
‘Team bus’ won the race. We don’t know by what margin, but they were probably helped by the fact that they only had to walk about 600m from the bus stop while the walk from the station is over 1km.
But what does this prove? Not much, in truth. The bus and train services cover quite different areas of Bristol. If you wanted to get to the central area, the bus would probably be your best option. If you wanted to get to Clifton, Redland, Gloucester Road, Easton or Lawrence Hill, or indeed Avonmouth or Severn Beach, the train would make more sense. And if you were travelling onwards by rail from Temple Meads, or taking a bicycle with you, you would almost certainly want to catch the train at Portway Park & Ride.
We campaign for a transport system where trains, buses, bikes, scooters and walking routes all work together to give people an easy alternative to the car. None of these is ‘better’ than the others; each has their place.
A race is good fun, but most of us will just be glad that we now have more options.