GO-OP, an open-access train operating organisation, has announced proposals that would improve rail services across Somerset as soon as 2017.
The co-operative’s mission is to reduce the social and environmental impacts of travel by providing mutually owned, high quality and inclusive public transport services that encourage people to choose more sustainable options.
It has been developing a proposal for a new rail service linking the west country and the West Midlands for several years, but until recently the route had been intended to start at Westbury in Wiltshire. Now GO-OP says it has enhanced the scheme to originate in Taunton, with stops at Castle Cary, Bruton and Frome.
The latest plans will be presented at the Going Places: co-operatives offering smarter travel event in Taunton on 1 July, as part of a series of seminars in Somerset during the UK-wide Co-operatives Fortnight. The event will also feature a presentation by Co-Cars, a co-operative Car Club which is also planning to introduce a new service to Taunton.
Car Clubs offer short term, convenient car hire to their members – a service that can provide an economical alternative to car ownership for people who make intermittent use of a car.
“GO-OP and Co-Cars are working together to ensure that people in Taunton are ready for a changing world in which online booking and shared resources give us all better transportation,” said Alex Lawrie, operations director of GO-OP.
“Most importantly, these aren’t just opportunities to make money out of their users – they are owned and controlled by the community.”
The new GO-OP route will begin with services between Taunton and Swindon, running one train every two hours from December 2017, with an extended service from May 2019. However, before it can commence, the proposal will need to win the backing of the Office of Rail and Road later this year.
- Going Places takes place from 1pm – 3pm on 1 July at the Somerset Co-operative Hub, 10 East Reach, Taunton, TA1 3EW, and is followed at 4pm by the Somerset Co-operative Services AGM.