'Clumsy' Bristol rapid transport route to be reviewed
MAYOR George Ferguson has told The Post that he is reviewing the controversial bus rapid transit route between the Long Ashton park and ride site and the city centre.
The BRT2 route is one of three which are planned to help ease Bristol's chronic traffic congestion.
Mr Ferguson said that until the review was finished, it was not possible to say what the outcome might be.
He said the review included looking at alternative schemes.
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During the run up to the election, he said in a hustings organised by The Post that he wanted to renegotiate the BRT funding so the money could be used to create the Bristol Metro rail network and improve bus services.
In his election pamphlet, A Vision for Bristol, he said: "I will strike a City Deal with the Government that includes rail, tram and bus service alternatives to the flawed BRT bendy bus."
Mr Ferguson said yesterday: "I am looking at alternatives at the moment which vary from wholesale alternatives to adjustments to the route."
He said he was only reviewing BRT2 because it was the most controversial route. He said there were two main sticking points about BRT2.
First was the dedicated concrete trackway on which the buses would run for part of the route and which he described as "clumsy".
Second were parts of the route itself, particularly around Prince Street bridge and through the harbour area.
"I'm looking at whether we can get rid of the guided track which makes it a BRT and take another look at the actual route which are the most controversial elements of the scheme," he said. He admitted that by taking away the guided tracks and not using bendybuses which became clear before the election, then BRT2 would end up as a "more efficient bus service".
He said: "You cannot jump me into an answer when I am asking for studies into the alternatives.
"It's not reasonable to give an answer to what the alternatives are because I have not had access to all the information.
"What I can say is that there will not be a complete adherence to the current BRT2 so it will change significantly."
The Government has already promised to back BRT2 which is costing about £49million.
A public inquiry has already been held into the scheme and a decision is expected to be announced some time in the new year.
Meanwhile, a panel of councillors last week backed away from ordering a review on £4.5 million spending on the scheme. This money will be used for consultation fees, legal costs and specialised work which is needed to be completed before actual building work can begin.
If the panel had gone for a review, then it would have put the scheme on hold and raised serious doubts about its future.