April 9, 2019 4.54 pm This story is over 32 months old

Karen Lee: The problem with Lincoln’s transport system

People said public transport was ‘too expensive and unreliable’

Lincoln is a beautiful place. From the cathedral to Hartsholme Country Park, we live in a city which we can all be proud of. But too often, the difficulty is not whether you can find something new to learn or discover, it’s whether you can cross the city centre during peak travel times.

When I stood to be Lincoln’s MP, one of my elections pledges was to address the transport problems facing Lincoln. Last year, I formed the Lincoln Transport Taskforce to bring together local stakeholders to discuss our transport challenges. We are all working on creating a vision for a better connected, efficient Lincoln. The evidence is clear; if we don’t solve the problem now, travel issues are only going to get harder to solve.

To ensure the views of Lincoln residents are at the forefront of this vision, I have undertaken both a survey and public engagement event.

The aim was to discover the attitudes of local people and I wanted to know how issues have emerged, especially around congestion and climate change. I recently published my report which summarises the key findings and conclusions.

My general conclusion will not be a surprise to those living in Lincoln, the transport system doesn’t meet the needs of people in our city. The options simply aren’t there; buses are deemed expensive and unreliable and cycling isn’t incentivised. The desire to leave the car and travel by other means is not encouraged in Lincoln.

A clear conclusion in my report is that Lincoln residents predominantly travel by car, and do not feel incentivised to use alternative forms of transport.

59% of survey respondents said their main form of transport is by car, which partly explains those all-to regular traffic jams at peak hours.

Lincoln’s transport issues can also be explained by a widespread belief that transport is prohibitively expensive.

68% of survey respondents said that they did not believe public transport in Lincoln provides value for money, whilst ‘lower fares’ was the most popular incentive to encourage residents to use public transport more often.

Lincoln residents also raised multiple concerns about the punctuality and coverage of local transport in Lincoln.

61% of survey respondents said that they did not find public transport in our city to be punctual, whilst multiple written submissions raised concerns about the unreliability and early finish times of local buses.

However, a majority of survey respondents also said that they were able to access most places in Lincoln by public transport.

Another clear conclusion was that Lincoln residents are concerned about the public health and environmental consequences of transport. Carbon reduction and air quality were two of the most frequently raised concerns during the community engagement event and in the written submissions.

Many residents outlined their desire to cycle more, with 71% of those who responded to my survey indicating that more cycle lanes would incentivise them to travel by bike.

My report has enabled many Lincoln residents to have their voices heard regarding transport in our city. I believe it is crucial that the views of local people are central in shaping the next steps as we try to create a Lincoln that is healthier and safer to travel in.

My report is available on my website and social media. If you would like a copy sent to you directly please email [email protected]

To aid the survey’s reach, it was both shared widely online (on my website and social media accounts) and physical copies were distributed to anyone who requested one. Paper copies were sent to older residents or people without internet access. In total the survey received 640 responses to the survey, representing all age ranges.

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Karen Lee was the Labour MP for Lincoln between 2017 and 2019. She is an NHS nurse and a Labour County Councillor for the Cathedral and Ermine ward of Lincoln