Bristol’s going places… but needs a transport plan, writes Phone Box Millionaire Stephen Fear

Bristol and the whole region is flying high for many reasons, location being one of them. Strategically placed, the city has access to many markets by way of road, rail, and increasingly air. In 2014 nearly 6.5 million passengers used Bristol Airport.

Bristol Airport has grown exponentially since the days when it was known as Lulsgate. An increasing number of European routes are being opened up and thousands of tourists and business people alike are using the airport, which seems to be improving daily. Every day sees it teaming with people going to places like Nice, Paris, Copenhagen and Rome.

We all want ease of travel, including me. I use Bristol as my airport of choice whenever I can. I find the parking very easy when compared to other regional airports, and particularly Heathrow and Gatwick, which takes the strain out of impromptu visits to European Cities. It just makes life easier.

The better the facilities, such as cafes, restaurants and other ‘comfort’ offerings the more likely people are to use it. Top of this list is ease of access and the number of destinations on offer. I must admit that I always thought the location at Lulsgate, when compared with Filton, or perhaps an Estuary Airport near the Severn Bridge, had its drawbacks, and still believe it needs a dedicated rail link as well as the newly planned duel carriageway running from the Long Ashton Bypass to the A38, which is being built as I write.

Bristol is an international city on the rise. It may not quite be up there with Berlin, Paris or Brussels in terms of perceived importance internationally, but it’s location, vibrant business community, and its growing airport, dictates that it will continue to grow at a pace previously thought impossible.

Public transport is an economic generator in itself, but then so is private transport. People are not going to give up their cars easily and attempts to make them do so by implementing Draconian measures that makes driving costly and prohibitive often hurts the poorest members of society who may be forced out of their cars for fiscal reasons.

In my opinion what is needed is a better overall transport plan which includes the integration of all forms of transport. Cycling included.

Before any of this can be paid for, especially from public funds, the money needs to be earned of course. That is what our business community is there to do. Creating an environment that is business friendly will pay dividends if managed correctly. Look at the growth of Bristol Port Company as an example. A hugely important asset for the city which is privately owned but creates wealth for the city purely by its well managed growth into a major British and international commercial port.

Bristol is really going places that’s for sure and with transport links like the M4/5 motorways, Temple Meads and Parkway Railway Stations soon to be electrified, and its international airport, it is easy to see why more and more people want to come and live within its boundaries and just outside.

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