Two innovative Somerset Council initiatives boosting public transport and active travel are in the running for prestigious awards.

The Bridgwater Way provides information, advice and tools to help people switch to bike or foot, and provides information on the best times to travel and routes to use. It has delivered key active travel projects in partnership with transport planning specialists Steer involving a programme of activities for schools across the town to promote and support active travel to school and reduce the number of cars at the school gate.

Somerset Council’s Bus It campaign, has helped to boost bus use across the County. Both have been shortlisted in this year’s National Transport Awards.

Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Transport and Digital, Councillor Mike Rigby said:

This is excellent news for the Council and everybody involved in these projects. It’s testament to the vital work that is going on in Somerset to improve public transport and encourage people out of their cars.
This is central to our key aim of making our county greener and more sustainable.

Bridgwater’s growing network of cycling, wheeling and walking paths provides the focus for The Bridgwater Way. Through working with schools, a series of initiatives have been delivered including an annual schools’ challenge, bike maintenance training, Dr Bike healthchecks for pupil and parent bikes, led rides, competitions in school classroom activities, including learning how to design streets for more walking and cycling. Increases in walking and cycling of up to 27 per cent have been achieved and reductions in car use of up to 22 per cent.

Local charity On Your Bike, which upskills local unemployed people as bike mechanics and refurbishes donated bikes to keep them out of landfill, has played a central part in project delivery by delivering the cycling related activities.

The Bridgwater Way is a finalist in the National Transport Awards Exemplary Approach to Active Travel & Public Space category.

Somerset Council’s Bus It campaign, supported by the passenger group Somerset Bus Partnership, was launched last summer with the aim of increasing bus use in the county, protecting valuable services and raising awareness of Somerset’s Bus Service Improvement Plan.

As well as using local media including radio and social media to highlight the savings bus users can make and benefits to the environment, the campaign, focuses on key initiatives like the £1 fare for any single journey in the Taunton zone, and new evening bus services linking key towns. Bus It uses a range of unique eye-catching in-house designed materials and messaging, winning plaudits and a request from another authority to purchase the content.

The fare capping and evening bus initiatives, along with the campaign, have so far helped to support a 24 per cent rise in bus use in Taunton and 14 per cent rise across Somerset. Bus It is up for Campaign of the Year Award.

Find out more about the awards here: Transport Times Events | About the National Transport Awards.

Follow @Travelsomerset on Twitter and Facebook for travel and transport updates.

Bus it leaflet

About this article

July 25, 2023

Andrew Doyle

Press Release