Bus route changes 'no threat'
BRISTOL mayor George Ferguson, pictured, has responded to an MP's comments that funding would be lost for the city's new bus rapid transit system if he "tinkers" with one of the routes.
Mr Ferguson has revealed he wants to change the bus rapid transit route from the Long Ashton park and ride site into the city centre so buses do not pass in front of the M shed museum and over Prince Street bridge.
But Bristol South Labour MP Dawn Primarolo said she had been told by ministers that Mr Ferguson's review had put Government money in doubt and "risks damaging Bristol's reputation in Whitehall for a generation".
Mr Ferguson said: "Dawn Primarolo's comments are irresponsible and scaremongering. I am absolutely determined that we do not lose the Government funding. Since my election I have been in regular contact with ministers and they are fully aware of the speedy review I am seeking on the BRT routes before we seek final sign off from the Department for Transport.
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"My intention is that we have a very swift review of the routes to take BRT away from Prince Street Bridge and the Habourside – the main bone of contention for those opposing the project. We should shift the emphasis to Temple Meads and the Enterprise Zone so that we create a proper transport hub linking with the planned improvements at the station.
"My review of BRT is fully accepted by colleagues in the West of England as being in scope."
The BRT is seen as one of the key components in easing traffic congestion in the Bristol area. The £49-million route into the city centre would be the first but there are others planned from the northern fringe to Hengrove and the South Bristol Link – which sweeps from the Long Ashton park and ride site to Hengrove.