Tuesday, 7 July 2009
The Bath Road goes 'Showcase'
Looks like the Bath Road buses are next to become 'Showcase' quality. Well, some of them. The plans are out now, and there's an 'informal public consultation' - whatever that is - until August 14th. On Tuesdays (10 till 4), Thursdays (10 till 8) and Saturdays (10 till 2) up to August 1st you can see the plans at Unit 9 on Brislington Hill (opposite the White Hart). Or you can see the detailed leaflet here, without leaving your PC, and send comments from this council website page
The cynic in me wonders whether these improvements will provide a bus service comparable in speed and reliability with those when I were a lad. After all, then there were lots of bus conductors and not nearly so much traffic cluttering the roads - so buses could move quicker and didn't have to stand still while you paid your fare.
There are certainly good things about the showcase plans. Better bus lanes, new pavements where none exist now (notably alongside the Arnos Vale cemeteries), more bike segregation. Real time information at bus stops. Bus stops with litter bins!
Some less promising things, too. Beyond the city boundary, cycling looks as suicidal as ever on the approach to Hicks Gate. Across from the Paintworks, there's one of those confidence-sapping cycle lanes outside a row of parked cars, any one of which might suddenly open an off-side door; there's a marked lack of bus stops from Temple Meads to beyond Totterdown bridge; and, all along, bus stops seemingly placed to maximise walking distance from homes reached through the side streets.
And questions, questions, questions. Will the real time information extend to all the routes along the Bath Road? There's the ABus 57 service, for instance, serving us here in Stockwood. First's 'country' buses, including the core X39 express route to Bath, haven't so far been brought in to the realtime system - will they be now? Same goes for the 349 Keynsham service, shared between First and ABus.
Now, if these buses are to be equipped to join the 'realtime' system, maybe we're actually making progress. But if not, all that fancy gear is only going to tell us when the next 1 or 36 is coming along. Hardly worth the effort.
I'll add comments below if and when I learn more