Thursday, 19 February 2009

BRT, and therefore congestion charging, a step closer in Bristol

So, according to the BBC the planned BRT scheme has been backed by Bristol City and North Somerset Councillors. All that is left is approval from the Department of Transport.

However, Bristol City Council's own gushing, self-congratulatory press release goes into more detail.

Firstly, it mentions what the BBC fails to, which is that this is part of a bid from the West of England Partnership. It then goes into great detail about all the money spent on (mostly meaningless) improvements to public transport.

However, despite clues in the text (the word "congestion" mentioned 5 times) what both the press release and the BBC fail to mention is that all of these improvements are subject to the city introducing Demand Management - which is "Congestion Charging" to you or I. They also don't mention that the improved bus services are all still going to be run by FirstBus, whose poor reliability, high charges, and shareholder preference are the fault of the poor bus services in Bristol anyway.

Time to do some digging on what the plans for congestion charging are... watch this space.


James Barlow has already blogged about this, including a sickening radio interview with Cllr Mark Bradshaw. Listen to his (lack of) answers to the questions, it's ridiculous. When asked whether he's going to give the public a referendum, the answer is basically NO, but he can't bring himself to say it.

Mark Bradshaw, you are a stalinist, arrogant, hypocritical bastard and your refusal to give a straight answer to a straight question, and furthermore your blatant disregard for the public's opinion disgusts me. I've never seen such arrogance.


Whilst the press release mentions:
The Temple Meads to Ashton Vale route - estimated to cost around £48million - is planned to link with the wider regional bus and road network from Nailsea, Portishead, Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare.
it doesn't mention how much this estimate has increased since 2006/2007 where it was half that, at £24-26m. It also (funnily enough) fails to mention the lack of Section 106 monies (many of which were stashed in Icelandic banks) which has lead to
a funding gap that could require intervention from the public purse.
Now I wonder why our friends at BCC neglected to mention this?

It aims to reduce congestion by providing thousands of commuters and shoppers with a viable alternative to their cars.
It aims to reduce congestion coupled with the congestion charge they conveniently haven't mentioned to provide commuters and shoppers with an overpriced alternative where they're not fucked up the arse just for having the nerve to drive into the city.


seebag said...

But he can talk brilliantly about step change and transformation, so he must be good. He's also brilliant at setting up false alternatives so he's clearly the man for the job, and just what we deserve.

it's either banned or compulsory said...

I don't often venture into Bristol these days but if they are going to charge me for it I can easily take my business and my money eleswhere, Manchester for example.

AngryDave said...

It will still be cheaper than the shitty bus service, and you wont have to put up with the bullshit that comes with the buses either.

Something they need to take into consideration, and as stated above, people will just go elsewhere. Will they really take the risk with all the money they are spending on redeveloping the city centre. Surely the last thing they want is people to stay out of Bristol, and spend their money somewhere else.