Monday, July 25, 2011

BRT = Build Ring-road Tomorrow

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Millions of pounds on what is supposed to be an integrated, 'seamless' approach to public transport - and the bendy buses wont even stop at Temple Meads! No joined up thinking there then.

BRISTOL City Council's flagship Ashton Vale to Temple Meads bendy bus route will not actually stop at the station, it has emerged.

The £50 million scheme is one of three rapid transit routes the council is finalising, ahead of submitting funding bids to government in September.

The idea is that the three routes will make life much easier for people who want to get from one end of the city to another.

It is also supposed to be part of an integrated approach to transport, so buses, rail and rapid transit all work seamlessly together.

The problem is that the latest version of the Ashton Vale to Temple Meads route doesn't stop at Temple Meads because there isn't enough money to pay for a stop there.

That means people arriving into Bristol by train won't just be able to just jump on the bendy bus or vice versa.

Instead the stop for the Temple Meads area is actually outside the KPMG building in Temple Street, the other side of the Temple Circus roundabout.

So anyone who wants to get from the bendy bus to catch a train has at least a five-minute walk across one of the busiest roundabouts in Bristol and several sets of traffic lights...

I'm not a fan of bus rapid transit Bristol-style - especially as it involves new road building. The Lib Dem Cabinet member in charge, Cllr Kent, says "They will cut congestion, reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere" There is no evidence for this. I persistently asked questions at public meetings about modelling and projections that had been done and the 'answers' given to me were totally inadequate. Where was the early, timely, high quality information when it was being asked for?? Increasing the capacity of the road network has on all past occasions increased total carbon emissions as the space fills with traffic and becomes congested and this 'link' - as their spin is now calling it - will do likewise.

Cllr Kent has also referred to 'massive public transport improvements'. Massive? No - and certainly not matching the scale of Bristol's transport problems. Improvements? Evidence of this is seriously lacking. Developments like a transport hub at Temple Meads and an integrated transport authority would begin to bring significant improvements - but these dont appear to be on the table at all due to political failures over decades.

Cllr Kent and Libe Dem colleagues seem to have forgotten that its hardly green to build over green space that is finite in supply, with its consequent loss of biodiversity, aesthetic and health benefits - and of course the greenery is no longer there to soak up carbon dioxide emissions.