Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

£47 million for what?


The Post reports today on the first of the proposed Bus Rapid routes, from Long Ashton Park and Ride into the centre. The story's based on a report (pdf) to the West of England Partnership.

Good to see that one suggestion I (and no doubt others) had put forward has been taken up - they're going for an 'anticlockwise loop' route, so that the inbound bendy buses will go to Temple Meads before they circle Carboot Circus and the Centre.

Even so, it's hard to see much justification for the route as a 'stand-alone' system - after all, it just replicates the existing P&R buses. Hardly worth spending £47 million to gain a couple of minutes journey time on just that route. And that's before the running costs.

Wouldn't it be wiser to put the money into, say, Oyster-type smart card ticketting systems ? That could save more than a couple of minutes on every bus journey made in Bristol

7 comments:

Chris Hutt said...

As you say the Ashton Vale doesn't make much sense on it's own. It's pretty obvious that it's aimed at the planned urban extension south of Long Ashton, but that's unlikely to materialise for some time.

At the temple Meads end the route is aimed at the Bristol & Bath Railway Path, which remains their preferred alignment through east Bristol despite the unprecedented public opposition.

They are hoping that if they can get a BRT route up and running the public will come round to recognising what a wonderful system it is and demand more routes including those that are currently too controversial.

So far the public remain underwhelmed. They say they want a tram (although they don't want to pay for it) and aren't buying BRT however much it's dressed up to look like a tram.

The BRT scheme for Bath is more advanced and has run into not just indifference but real public hostility. It's currently struggling to survive and may soon hit the buffers, so to speak. That may be the death knell for BRT in general.

Pete Goodwin said...

I suppose they can't expect a lot of enthusiasm for the Ashton Vale route.. there are very few people other than the Park & Riders who'll get any benefit, and even they won't get much.

Question is, what happens if this scheme gets dropped? We all know that there are much better options, but is there any realistic chance that they could become reality in the forseeable future?

Chris Hutt said...

The other issue is how it will be funded. They were going for Transport innovation Funding but that would have depended on going ahead with Congestion Charging, which looks like a dead duck after Manchester's vote against it.

The report that you link to refers to 90% funding via "the DfT's major scheme bidding process". Is this still TIF? Are they trying to play down the dependence on a Congestion Charge?

Glenn Vowles said...

'Question is, what happens if this scheme gets dropped? We all know that there are much better options, but is there any realistic chance that they could become reality in the forseeable future?'

This hits the nail on the head Pete. We have to keep arguing the case for better options but I fear that the chance of seeing them come to fruition is a very, very long way off. About as far off as the Greens running the city themselves.

Pete Goodwin said...

That sounds deeply pessimistic, Glenn. Or is the glass half full - do we get the 'better options' as soon as we get a Green administration?

Pete Goodwin said...

Chris, so far as I can see they're putting a bid for this one in as part of the Regional Funding Allocation. That's not going to extend to all the RT lines they have in mind, though.

The West of England Transport Execs received a report this morning about the Ashton Vale route, and seemed very positive about it. Only Elfan ap Rees from N.Somerset seemed concerned about the rising costs. Ironic, considering it's N.Somerset drivers who'll gain by far the most from this project.

Glenn Vowles said...

'we get the 'better options' as soon as we get a Green administration?'

This is true up to a point Pete, though the central govt in place sets a lot of the agenda of course. The sooner we have many Greens elected as councillors and as MPs in influential numbers the better things will be.