The proposed Bus Rapid Transit route from Ashton Vale seemed to be welcomed by the four West of England Executive Members who were presented with the details this morning. What they didn't pick up is that it fails miserably to improve millions of journeys - by missing the golden chance to kick start a new interchange on Plot 6 at Temple Meads.
Instead, the nearest the bendy bus would get to the station would be the 'Island Site' - being what's now in the middle of the Temple Circus gyratory system. It's the furthest from the station of all the scattered bus stops around Temple Meads - but it's still being described as a new 'interchange'! Is this really the limit of the city council's vision?
It's already intended to turn the gyratory back into a light controlled junction, with Temple Way and Temple Gate forming the main through road. The listed George and Railway Hotel will find itself on the Redcliffe side of both carriageways, with more than enough land released by the works to provide a stop for the rapid transit. BRT passengers heading for the station (or emerging from the station and heading for the city centre and points west) will have to cross the main road by a new subway or bridge before they can continue their journeys by BRT. They probably won't bother. Would you?
The excuse for this abject failure is that BRT passengers heading on to Broadmead or the Centre would be delayed by as much as five minutes if their superbus had to cross Temple Way twice, to get close enough to the railway station to share its passenger facilities, along with - potentially - bus passengers to and from the rest of Bristol. The time loss for rail or bus interchange passengers somehow got left out of the calculation.
errr... isn't this BRT the flagship route that includes a new bridge over the Portishead line, a reconstructed bridge over the New Cut, two new foot/cycle bridges (the New Cut at the Create Centre and the Floating Harbour at Prince Street) and - probably - the re-engineering of the Cumberland Road bridge to give enough clearance for double-deckers? How is it that a bus underpass or bridge at Temple Meads, where they're going to rebuild the road system anyway, is so unthinkable?
Taken from the developers' 'Area Development Framework',this screenshot shows the proposed new road layout. Being a bit out of date, it also still has the rapid transit crossing Temple Way and heading off toward the railway path. Another daft idea is the 'bus hub' on the far side of Bath Bridge.