Getting the Hinkley Point C workforce from A to B

Making sure Hinkley Point C workers can get to where they need to be on a daily basis is essential to the smooth running of the Project. It’s also vital they do it in a way that keeps transport disruption and environmental impact to a minimum for local residents. This is where Somerset Passenger Solutions (SPS) comes in. 

SPS provides the passenger transport solution to team members for both external travel to and from site (primarily from its Park and Ride locations) and within the site perimeter.

“The work SPS does is really important because without the Hinkley Point C team being able to get to, from and around the site, the Project would be unable to continually meet its programme milestones,” said Andy Wagstaff, Passenger Transport Service Manager. “The investment we’ve made in safe, good-quality vehicles demonstrates the value we put into ensuring the workforce is transported safely and efficiently.”

The 350-strong SPS team operates around the clock, but the peak hours of operation fall between 05:30-07:00 and 18:00-18:45. This explains why the buses can often appear to be moving around looking relatively empty during the normal working day. “The buses often seem to be running with few passengers because the main movement of the team takes place when most people are having breakfast or their evening meal,” said Andy.

During non-peak times vehicles are repositioned, fuelled, maintained, cleaned or used for route familiarisation. Quieter periods are also used for driver training and recruitment. Most of these activities take place around its own purpose-built facility at Junction 24, which means buses frequently travel to and from that location. There are also a number of vehicles stationed at the site, for use in an emergency. So, if you spot an empty bus during wintery weather conditions, this could be because the vehicle is travelling to pick up workers if heavy snow is forecast, for example.

Technology is utilised to identify every opportunity to further improve the safety and efficiency of the service. These include the vTech vehicle telematic monitoring initiative, which monitors things like vehicle and driver speeds and instances of excessive braking and acceleration as well as long engine idling times, which helps to reduce impacts on the environment.

Vehicle speeds and locations are continually tracked to support the team in dealing with enquiries from local residents, and role-specific 'Certificate of Professional Competency' training is refreshed regularly.  In support of that, an eight-person training team conducts initial, remedial and ongoing refresher training.

Getting to the route of it

The routes in place go to and from the Park and Ride locations (Junction 23 and 24, Cannington Park and Ride, Quantock Lakes and Washford Cross) as well as Sedgemoor Campus. Two ‘Walk and Ride’ services have also just started – these pick passengers up from central Bridgwater and Taunton. 

Keeping a (social) distance

The SPS team has been busy maintaining its operations during the lockdown and beyond. It has continued to monitor proceedings by implementing health and safety measures that meet government guidelines. These include: 

  • Placing Perspex screens between seats
  • Daily deep cleaning and vehicle misting with environmentally friendly disinfectant
  • Regular cleaning and disinfecting of bus stops and bus stands
  • Making hand sanitiser readily available at journey terminal points
  • Employing social distancing spacing indications at bus stops.

 

In addition, team members can only board if they are wearing face coverings, and to ensure adequate spacing, the vehicles are currently running at 50% passenger capacity.