ARE you waiting for a bus? Or is there no bus to wait for? The Metro Mayor, Dan Norris, has no money. He says he can’t subsidise unprofitable routes. First can’t get enough drivers. People earn more driving lorries.
But there is an answer. Mayor Norris and North Somerset Council plan to spend £152 million re-opening the Portishead railway line. Yet a dedicated bus route would provide a better service. This would cost about £20m. That leaves about £130m to spend on the missing buses.
It’s quite simple. Lay tarmac on the 3.5km of disused railway between Portishead and the M5 junction19 (Gordano services). Buses can run up the M5 until Avonmouth, Junction 18. Bus priority measures are already in place on the Portway for the Portway park and ride. At the Cumberland basin they join the Metrobus priority measures to go along Cumberland Road to Temple Meads. Of course the buses don’t have to go to Temple Meads. They can use the Metrobus routes to provide a service wherever needed in Bristol.
The planning has cost £21m and taken 21 years, without moving a single passenger. A train may have been a good idea 21 years ago. Times change. £310m has been spent on Greater Bristol Bus Network and Metrobus since then. The project has developed its own momentum. No one wants to question it now.
Nearly all 236 trains will be almost empty. A couple in morning and evening rush hours will be well used. But projected passenger figures show 88% of seats empty. After 15 years 84% of seats will still be unused. Reinstating the trains will increase greenhouse gases by 1000 tonnes per annum. What is the point of running nearly empty trains doing 2 mpg, especially in a climate emergency? A bus doing11 mpg makes more sense. A more convenient service, less CO2, and £130m for more buses.
So while you’re waiting for that bus take out your smartphone and email Dan Norris, Mayor@westofengland-ca.gov.uk Tell him to stop playing with trains and fix your bus service. You could also email your councillor. https://democracy.bristol.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx
Any questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Barry Cash, Bishopston