Blackpool bids for travel revolution

New artist's Impression of the Supertram to be introduced to the Blackpool tramway system
New artist's Impression of the Supertram to be introduced to the Blackpool tramway system
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BLACKPOOL is bidding for £5m to transform travel around the resort and bring it into the 21st century.

Initiatives include a smart travel card similar to a London Oyster card, a park and ride system and the installation of charging points for electric cars in all the main car parks.

A smart phone ‘app’ would complement the travel card by providing maps and links to transport, tourism and attraction operators.

The proposals also include providing cycle storage at tram stops, car-sharing, a cycle courier service and electronic signage directing visitors to the main attractions and car parks.

The cycle rental scheme – Hire-a-Bike – could be extended into Fylde and Wyre so that people could ride along the whole coast.

If the Department of Transport bid is successful, it is hoped to reduce congestion and traffic fumes, drive economic growth and improve transport links.

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for transport on Blackpool Council, told The Gazette: “Our residents have said for a long time they want to see improved transport facilities.

“We want to make sure we can develop methods for getting around town which don’t rely on owning a car. This bid aims to secure the funding needed to make those improvements.

“I would like to think we can increase the use of alternative forms of transport significantly over the next few years by making them more attractive and easier to use.

“By tying together the likes of the cycle hire scheme and bus travel through a single travel card for residents we can encourage people to use them more widely, making the whole town accessible.

“Likewise we can help deliver a better travel experience for our visitors by creating initiatives such as park and ride systems, improving transport information and linking our attractions together by properly planned transport routes.

“It may take a while to hear if we’re successful but I remain hopeful and eager to get this plan under way.” The park and ride scheme would see the launch of an eco-friendly shuttle bus operating between car parks, the town centre and attractions at 15 minute intervals.

It is hoped the scheme would make Blackpool’s tourist attractions more accessible.