Forget Bristol congestion charges, make bus travel more appealing instead.
THE proposal being considered by mayor George Ferguson to introduce congestion charges has the familiar hallmark of a politician cracking a nut with a sledgehammer. (Mike Norton interview, Post, Jan 4).
We all want to see the daily nightmare of Bristol grinding to a halt caused by traffic congestion ended.
Introducing congestion charging is not necessarily the best option. Mayor Ferguson should concentrate more on improving public transport. Getting people to leave their cars at home in favour of public transport is no easy task. But it can be achieved by making bus journeys a more speedy and pleasant experience. Showcase bus routes were an innovated move and need to be extended. But the success of these priority lanes is partial due to the frustrating delays along the route caused by the driver having to deal with taking fares. This adds unnecessary journey time and is a major cause of irritation amongst passengers.
Bus operator First should reinstate bus conductors for a 12-month trial on a main bus route to test if this is the way forward. Some light music played on buses might also help lift the sometimes tense atmosphere.
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Bus drivers perform a difficult and unappreciated service. Their profile needs to be raised. The city council should sponsor a 'Driver of the Year' award to highlight those drivers who go that little extra to provide a service. Encouraging the general public to use buses instead of cars isn't rocket science. By providing a more speedy, obliging and efficient service, the number of bus users could increase rapidly.