"A public transport hub in the centre of Ramsey is crucial, an MHK believes."
"Dr Alex Allinson said: ’As a previous commissioner and now an MHK, I am keen that public transport links to the north of the island are improved.’
Replacing the bus station on a different site would also free up land for development, he said.
He was reacting after the government said it was drafting plans for public transport links in the north.
Previous proposals for a bus and MER tram interchange in Ramsey were put on the backburner after a planning application was turned down in 2015.
Last year, responding to a House of Keys question from Dr Allinson asking for an update on the proposals, Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer said the idea was to come back with a ’more modest’ scheme and would bring forward a scheme to Tynwald at the ’earliest opportunity’.
At that time, February 2017, Mr Harmer also admitted the existing bus station was in a poor condition and needed replacing, ideally outside the TT course. He said he was committed to freeing up the current bus station site for social housing.
The Isle of Man Examiner contacted to the Department of Infrastructure to find out what the latest situation was, 19 months on from that question.
A DoI spokesman said: ’Proposals are currently being drafted for consideration and will aim to provide the most effective solution for Ramsey and the north of the island.
‘The public will be consulted at the appropriate time in the process.’
Ramsey MHK Dr Allinson said: ’I welcome the commitment from the DoI to create a transport hub which will join up the existing MER and bus services closer to the heart of Ramsey.
‘This will improve transport options for visitors and residents as well as making the existing elderly bus depot site available for development. I look forward to the consultation on this important investment in the further regeneration of Ramsey.’
There have been concerns that the SAVE programme to cut government costs might hit community bus services and the heritage railways, including the MER. A report earlier this year called for a review of bus drivers’ pay, a £330,000 cut in the government transport subsidy as part of a bus and rail action plan and the prioritising of public transport routes.
When Tynwald debated SAVE in June this year, members voted to note the work done so far, but not endorse specifically any of the proposals under consideration.”