Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Crawley Fastway is a guided bus public transport service linking parts of Crawley with the nearby Gatwick Airport. The project is not yet complete but buses are running on a section of the scheme from Bewbush, in the South of Crawley, to Gatwick.
The Fastway project is a multi-phase project to improve bus services in the Crawley, Gatwick and Horley area. The project includes
- the provision of new bus lanes, including guided bus lanes
- the construction of new bus waiting shelters
- electronic real-time passenger information
- a new fleet of low-floor access buses
Phase one of the Fastway service commenced in September 2003 between Bewbush and Gatwick. The opening was attended by Tony McNulty MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport and local dignataries. The service was extended to 24 hour operation in May 2004. The service now runs every 10 minutes during the day and every 20-30 minutes in the early morning, evening and Sunday.
The phase one service runs from Bewbush via Breezehurst Drive and Pelham Drive to Broadfield. From there the service runs via Coachmans Drive, the Broadfield Stadium and Southgate Avenue to Crawley town centre Bus Station and Broadway. Buses then proceed via High Street and London Road to Manor Royal industrial estate. Finally, the service goes via Gatwick Road and City Place business park to Gatwick airport itself.
Works on the phase one route included:
- A new bus-only short cut at Broadfield Stadium, protected by raising bollards to block other traffic
- New bus lanes along sections of Southgate Avenue.
- Conversion of three town-centre roundabouts and two on Southgate Avenue to traffic lights, plus the addition of new traffic lights on Southgate Avenue.
- Blocking off connecting roads from Southgate Avenue.
- New bus lane on High Street to avoid the one-way system
- New bus lanes at the London Road/Crawley Road roundabout
- Traffic lights on dual carrigeway to provide access from City Place retail park to Gatwick Airport.
Works still ongoing include:
- Guideway down the centre of London Road
- Dedicated bus lane through the heart of the Tushmore roundabout
- Re-routing traffic lanes on Tushmore roundabout.
- Dedicated bus lanes within the existing carriageway in Manor Royal
- Improvements to the footways and cycleways in Manor Royal
- Upgrading the existing road surfaces in Manor Royal
- Improvements to the Manor Royal / London Road junction and the Fleming Way / Faraday Road junction
Future construction work will include:
- Widening of the carriageway on Haslett Avenue East to provide dedicated bus lanes
- Replacing roadway with bus guideway on Haslett Avenue East on the eastbound approach to Three Bridges roundabout
- New street lighting along Haslett Avenue East
- A new traffic light controlled junction on the western arm of the Squareabout.
The Fastway project is promoted by a Public-Private Partnership. The consortium includes West Sussex County Council, Surrey County Council, Crawley Borough Council, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, BAA Gatwick, British Airways, Metrobus and the Go-Ahead Group. There is also additional support from the UK Department for Transport.
Funding is being raised both from the public and private elements of the consortium. The projected cost is £32 million, with £7.5 million from West Sussex County Council. The final cost of the scheme is still unknown.
The bus operator, Metrobus, has stated that passenger figures are up 10%, with 35% of all journeys being to and from Gatwick. One million passengers were carried in the first seven months of operation. It has also indicated that delays have been reduced due to the new bus lanes and bus gate.
The Fastway project has sharply divided opinion in the local area. Concern has focussed on a number of areas:
- Design of new bus lanes, notably with regards to safety.
- Low use of guided bus sections.
- Impact during construction.
- Schedule - Phase 1 completed four months late, Phase 2 already overrun.
- Loss of green areas, cycle lanes, road space and pedestrian routes to bus lanes.
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