New Wisbech travel campaign urges people to 'ditch the car' - although a third of population are without one!

PUBLISHED: 15:28 14 August 2015 | UPDATED: 16:07 14 August 2015

Traffic problems on Freedom Bridge roundabout

Traffic problems on Freedom Bridge roundabout

Archant

A town where a third or more of the population is without a car has been urged to ditch them anyway and get on their bike, onto a bus or even walk.

Wisbech Travel Choices is a new campaign by Fenland District Council to boost what they term ‘sustainable’ transport – and will give incentives to residents who keep a week long travel diary.

Cabinet member Simon King is chairing the new initiative and says the travel diaries will prove valuable to the campaign.

“The survey and travel diaries will provide us with valuable feedback on where sustainable transport choices work, where they don’t and what we may be able to do in future to change this,” he said.

However, a recent study by Cambridgeshire County Council spelt out the dismal prospects for anyone accessing or criss-crossing the town.

“The walking and cycling routes are considered incoherent,” said a refreshed Wisbech transport strategy released last December by the county council.

The report claimed these routes “are perceived by many as unsafe and consequently regarded as a barrier to accessing services for those without access to a car.”

Cllr King believes Fenland Council can learn much from people who write down their travel experiences.

He says the diaries will log what form of transport people would normally use each day as well as the alternatives they have tried out.

“It also gives them the chance to comment on how they fared with the new methods,” he said.

Those submitting a diary will be entered into a draw with the chance to win shopping vouchers worth £150, £100 and £50.

However as the county council study showed the problems are well known – and solutions will cost money.

Wisbech has a high proportion of households without access to a car.

Many of the wards to the north of Wisbech, where the residential areas are located, are the areas where no access to a car is highest (Medworth 37 per cent, Clarkson 33 per cent, Waterlees 28 per cent).

The county council study also presented problems faced by those trying to get to work or college, the long waits they can experience for a bus, and also difficulties in accessing the hospital.

“There are no bus services which stop close to the hospital and the nearest bus stop is the Horsefair Bus Station,” says the county council report.

“The bus station is approximately a 10 minute walk from the hospital site.”

Cllr King expects these and many other issues to be raised through the Fenland Council study.

His group has produced an updated version of the Fenland Travel Directory, a free guide giving details of all the public transport schemes and providers now operating in Fenland.

It is available online at www.fenland.gov.uk/transport and at the Fenland@ your service shops and community hubs in Chatteris, March, Whittlesey and Wisbech, and in local libraries and GP surgeries.

For details of the Wisbech Travel Choices project, visit www.fenland.gov.uk/wisbechtravelchoices

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