I’d like to respond to David Chandler’s letter of March 3:
RAIL PASSENGER NUMBERS
The current situation is that the 18,000 people who live in the Marlborough area have to get to Bedwyn, Swindon, Pewsey or Hungerford to catch a train. With a convenient station in Marlborough we believe that at least 400 people per day (2.2% of the population) would use it. I live at the other end of the town. I’m getting on a bit, but I’d be happy to shuffle the 25 mins to the station. From his house, David could stroll it in ten or jog it in five. People work at and visit the business park right next to the station. Are we saying that none of these would use the railway?
COST PER PASSENGER
Not sure how David gets his £75,000. If you simply divided the capital cost by 400 passengers then the number is pretty meaningless. If the council bought a bus for £20,000, then I got on it with three other passengers, you wouldn’t claim that each of had been subsidised by £5,000. They’re going to run that bus for maybe 5 years, during which time thousands of passengers will use it. If you do that exercise for our rail scheme, then bear in mind that we look at costs over 60 years and the capital cost would be about £3.42 per ticket.
However this isn’t really a sensible way to approach costs. The Department for Transport quantify all the benefits and all the costs and see how they compare. If the benefits are greater than the costs, then it’s worth doing. If they’re not, it isn’t. This is why we want the feasibility study.
Didcot station has parking for over a thousand cars. We’re not in that league. Perhaps a tenth of that. Remember that 8,000 of our 18,000 live in the town. Walking or cycling to the station really is an option.
Support this scheme. Let’s get the politicians doing something for Marlborough, for a change. We’ve been ignored for too long.