Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Keeping the Lord Mayor mobile

At last, the answer to the question that's got all Bristol talking.

What to do about the Lord Mayoral Limo?  The tired old Daimler has been all but written off, since a little contretemps with a traffic bollard at the foot of the Council House ramp damaged its underside beyond economic repair.

Finding a replacement in these times of austerity was never going to be easy.  The civic leader of Bristol must have a civic vehicle to match the city's international standing. But we're skint.

The answer is inspired by Chooseday.

Remember Chooseday?   Probably not.  It was launched with a big fanfare a few years ago by the great and good of Bristol.  The idea was that Chooseday should be a the brand  (yes, brand) for sustainable initiatives in the city.  For starters, motorists were asked to give up their cars one day a week (on Tuesdays, believe it or not), and use their legs, bikes or public transport.  Once that habit got established, other initiatives would be developed to expand the Chooseday brand.

It was never going to work, of course.  Can you imagine if it did?  Every Tuesday, instead of the usual congestion crippling Bristol, everyone would be piling on to buses and trains that simply weren't equipped for the sudden influx.   Result... public transport totally discredited as an alternative to the car. 

Within a few days, Chooseday became history.

Until now. Using the Chooseday model, the Mayoral Limo can be resurrected for nowt.  The city and its Lord Mayor get a 'timeshare' vehicle, different on each day of the week, provided by the good example of the city bosses.

For three days, the leaders of the main parties will set the Chooseday example, putting their own vehicles at the Lord Mayor's disposal, while they find more sustainable ways to get around. 

The fourth day, it's the Greens' turn.  Tess Green, in fact.  Sorry, Tess, you'll have to walk.  Just pedal up to the Mansion House in Clifton, and leave your bike there.

Days 5 and 6, lets have the real city bosses join in. 

Merchant Venturer John Savage should certainly be up for it - he was one of the first spokesmen for the Chooseday launch.  On the day he volunteers his own car for civic use, he can still get to work at Business West on the newly upgraded 357/358 bus.  No problem there then.

On Day 6, perhaps it should be left to the business community to select one of their own.  Maybe by ballot among members of the Local Enterprise Partnership?

For the seventh day there can be only one volunteer - and one vehicle.  Steve Lansdown already owes a debt of gratitude to Bristol, for all its efforts to turn his dream stadium and the assets around it into a reality, and to oppose anything and anyone that might get in the way.  Steve, it is said, has a part share in a private jet based at the airport.  He must be able to spare it one day a week; come here too much and he might have to start paying taxes, and anyway, he could always use the Weymouth train and the ferry to get home to Guernsey.  So let this jet plane be the cherry on the mayoral transport cake - something to reflect the very special stature of the city, and to help attract the most ambitious candidates if, in future, we're to elect an all-powerful city Mayor.  What other city could compete with that?

Not that the Lord Mayor should use the Lansdown jet, of course, other than for photo-opportunities.  Just keeping it on the ground would do the city, and the planet, a favour.


woodsy said...

I think the Lord Mayor ought to be given a municipal spacehopper for his official duties. The bright orange colour would go perfectly with his official red frock! ;)

Stockwood Pete said...

I like that, woodsy. I'll put the spacehopper down for Tuesdays, so the Lord Mayor can make a more impressive entrance to the full council meeting. Possibly building up speed down Park Street on the way.