Transport for Bristol - News
July 2010Transport for Greater Bristol is opposing the Bus Rapid Transit route 2 (BRT2) in support of environmentally sustainable and more effective alternatives which utilise the rail infrastructure and provide a light rail rapid transit vehicle such as the tram. We are co-ordinating local opposition to the BRT2 by opposing the application for a Transport and Works Act Order to "construct and operate works and to compulsorily aquire land for a guided busway system" by Bristol City Council and North Somerset Council for the first part of the route from Ashton Vale to Prince St and including works to the Bristol Harbour Railway. We understand that in order to get a public inquiry, it is necessary for 50-1000 local residents to put in written objections, either by post or email.
ITA updateMany thanks to all those who supported our postcard campaign which called for an Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) within the West of England Partnership (WEP) to give the powers to run public transport and called for the money allocated to the South Bristol Link to be switched to the much more sustainable need to reopen the Portishead railway line.
Whilst MPs Roger Berry & Steve Webb attended our public meetings we in the TfGB did not have the human resources to give those meetings the publicity they deserved as most of our energies went towards the postcard campaign where we took our street stalls to Thornbury, Kingswood, Staple Hill, Bedminster, Bishopston, Kingsdown, Nailsea and Bath with our first ever leaflet with thanks to Simon Rees
The TfGB proposes to continue lobbying local councillors and to seek more civic inclusion in public transport plans whilst they are still at a stage of conception. The option to make a public statements to committees will still be used but with a recognition that in many cases our statements come too late in the decision making process. We are calling on all Prospective Parliamentary Candidates to support our call for the imposition of an ITA, with the appropriate kick start funding, by the next government, and we have made this request to the transport minister, Sadiq Khan.
Sustainable Integrated Public Transport - Not available in WEPMeanwhile the South Gloucs. Council spend money on road widening on the ring road to accommodate more cars, congestion and pollution and to denigrate the environment further they are invading the green belt with housing which could be built on the plentiful and available brown field sites.
Bristol City Council planning officers have no green credentials either as they propose to put a Park & Ride on the allotments at Stapleton instead of developing transport interchanges around Parkway Station which is just over a mile away in South Gloucs. A transport interchange would make sense at Parkway where rail and other orbital options to travel around the fringe as well as to the centre. Whilst BCC are hiding under the West of England Partnership umbrella and the Hengrove to Northern Fringe plans, surely they could have managed a conversation about mutual interests in a transport hub at Parkway
Worse still, cash strapped North Somerset Council have decided that a bendy bus rapid transit is more affordable than reopening Portishead railway. When will they wake up and realise that they should be talking to their MPs who are wise enough to pay lip service to rail and get the government to alter its assessment of rail schemes where road schemes are favoured at present due to revenue from fuel and road tax.
South Bristol Link (SBL)We are now engaging with all groups in a campaign to stop the SBL on the basis that no economic regeneration case has been presented by WEP officers, that it is a road to the airport disguised as rapid transit, which will disrupt South Bristol communities who would be better served if the money earmarked were to be used to provide more sustainable public transport and social regeneration which is what some of the people of South Bristol have asked for ( 25 submissions against SBL - only 4 in favour). It is predicted the SBL will go to public inquiry and a legal challenge is being considered.
Statement made and presented to Joint Transport Executive Members from the West Of England Partnership
On behalf of the Transport Alliance for Greater Bristol, I urge you to investigate the possibility of setting up an Integrated Transport Authority.
- The Local Transport Act (2008) offers an opportunity through an ITA to effect control of local passenger transport, including bus and rail, whilst retaining highway powers,where this city region is renowned nationally for failing to provide what is required to reduce reliance on the car and reduce carbon emissions from road transport.
- We recognise that the LTA (2008) makes no provision to fund the establishment of an ITA . However, with the application of some imaginative thinking, the costs of a review of governance and indeed the inauguration of an ITA could be found through seconding transport staff from those councils that are interested. Further, approaches could be made to local MPs, most of whom support an ITA, for ongoing funding from central government who after all have the authority to impose an ITA if necessary. Elsewhere the PTA's and ITA's have a proven track record of their funding applications being well received by central government.
- The initial small sum of £10,000 followed by £90,000, for funding a review of governance, suggested in the WEP officers' report to the last meeting of the JTEC in October, would be money well spent and could lead to much needed public transport improvements which would make this region attractive to commercial investment, particularly in this period of recession.
- The bus operators, the transport campaign groups, the environment campaigners, local MPs and one of your councils support an ITA. If this opportunity is missed due to the old adage ' but we are doing alright ', then it is not difficult to predict the continued demise of public transport and the consequential increase in traffic congestion where road building is now proved as no solution.
The complacency recently displayed by the WEP over many transport issues flies in the face of public opinion where we have a transport system widely described as "rubbish", as an absurdity, an insult to the passengers and not fit for purpose.
This is borne out by the statistics for our region:
a) It has the slowest-moving urban traffic;
b) It has the highest rail fares;
c) The average age of the passenger rail fleet is greater than that in any other region and much of the rail infrastructure is life expired;
d) People have worse access to buses than in any other part of Great Britain.
e) Greater use of cars is made in the region than elsewhere.
We expect better of you, on the issue of public transport which is the key to a sustainable economic future in the region. Can you please make that decision today and confirm by public statement whether or not you support a 'review of governance'. The public have a right to know where the WEP now stand on the question of an ITA. And assuming that you choose to do nothing and continue to preside over these dysfunctional arrangements... be of no doubt: that in the very near future, faced with the transport problems that will unfold here, you or your successors will be implementing an ITA or its future equivalent, if you wish to maintain the economic well-being of the region and its citizens. We ask you to have the vision to start that process now rather than waiting while things continue to get worse.
Martin Garrett - Transport for Greater Bristol Alliance Thursday 12th November 2009
Campaign Update Summer 2009
The Transport Alliance (TfGB) is calling for integrated public transport for Greater Bristol and is being heard by the politicians, bus operators and active community groups who support our determination to reduce CO2 emissions, traffic congestion and make public transport a sustainable and reliable alternative to the car. We see ourselves as part of the holistic campaign to make our environment more sustainable and healthier to live in. Our lobbying policy is starting to have some influence where we work with local politicians.
In May Bristol City Council Sustainable Development and Transport Commission invited the TfGB to submit a statement as part of the Council's Bus Services Review. Our document "TfGB Bus Strategy" was well received and key points on a central bus loop, exact fares and cashless ticketing were openly supported by Councillors. BCC is also considering proposals put forward by TfGB to establish a transport interchange on Plot 6, which is adjacent to Temple Meads Station on Temple Way, and would be on the BRT route and link all buses to the station through the free circular route.
In July we submitted the same document with minor amendments, after a thorough consultation with our constituent groups comprising over 2000 members, to the West of England's Joint Transport Executive Committee and called on them to conduct a review under the provisions of the Local Transport Act 2008 which should put emphasis on the need for an Integrated Transport Authority to provide the required level of public transport for the Greater Bristol region.
Any proposal to move Bristol City Football Club to Ashton Vale must carry a sustainable public transport travel plan that will ensure the removal of traffic congestion and the intrusion of the local environment. TfGB support the use of available rail network and the re-opening of Ashton Gate Station and a localised infrastructure with links to bus routes, cycle ways and footpaths to give the supporters more environmentally sustainable access when travelling to matches. Pip Sheard has produced our transport overview here(pdf)
Transport in the South West
We have submitted our proposals (rtf) for "Transport in the South West" to the South West Regional Committee where Ben Bradshaw is our regional MP. The proposals include opposition to airport expansion and major road development, prioritising of Portishead railway and the Greater Bristol Metro, a tram for the BRT which currently relies on high carbon concrete, internal combustion engine and rubber wheels, and introduction of an ITA with real powers to deliver bus and rail plans all of which must be seen as reducing our CO2 emissions and global warming.
In support of rail plans put forward by Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) and in pursuit of our light and heavy rail proposals for the Greater Bristol Metro, TfGB have formed a rail group to develop our lobbying strategy. Anyone wishing to contribute ideas can email Peter Gould at firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of August when the group are likely to hold their first meeting.
West of England Rail bids
PLEASE SUPPORT THE WEST OF ENGLAND PARTNERSHIP'S RAIL BIDS BY SENDING ONE EMAILPlease send a single email copied to all the councillors (below) of the South West Regional Assembly Executive in support of the inclusion of three rail bids in the Regional Funding Allocation (RFA2) process.
Please send the email as soon as possible and send a copy of any replies to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The three bids are:
Portishead to Bristol Temple Meads reopening, Greater Bristol Metro project (improvements on the line from Yate to Weston) ( two West of England schemes)and Swindon to Kemble track redualling (a Wiltshire scheme).
More details on all three schemes are below. Lots more detail about the Portishead, GBM schemes and other rail plans are available from the West of England Partnership website here
Why we need your help
The West of England (4 Avon councils) have only two reps on the Regional Assembly's Executive so it is necessary for councillors from other authorities to support our schemes for them to go ahead. The current shortlist, which includes the rail schemes, costs 40% more than the allocated budget so some schemes will be rejected. West of England has submitted a list of 6 schemes so not all of them might be funded and we want to make it clear that the public supports rail above other more expensive road based schemes such as the M5 junction and Westbury bypasses. More information about the six West of England schemes can be found at westofengland.org
FOSBR and TfGB made verbal submissions to the Regional Assembly Transport Board's meeting last Thursday and we've had media coverage in the Evening Post and the Western Daily Press. More letters to them (particularly WDP) in support of the rail bids would be a great help. The email addresses are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The final decision is expected at the Assembly's Executive on 13th Feb and the Leaders will also meet to discuss the bids. These meetings are not open to the public so we are asking our supporters to send one very polite (!) email to ALL the councillors below saying how important the public and local groups consider the rail bids are and that they want them to be on the final list for funding.
Points you could make
- This is the very first time, the Government has allowed local rail schemes to be funded via the Regional allocation process. This is due to strong lobbying by rail groups.
- Greater Bristol has an underdeveloped rail network and this fund is the only avenue open to fund local rail improvements which would be too costly for local councils to do otherwise.
- West of England Partnership officers have thoroughly prepared the schemes by liaison with Network rail and FGW so the schemes are achievable and the money can be spent. Achievability is a strong critieria for putting a scheme forward, because in the past the region underspent because schemes turned out to be unrealistic.
- In relation to Portishead, North Somerset council own the land for the track and have appointed an officer to take the scheme forward. Halcrow have carried out a feasibility study and Network Rail have been involved in the preparation of the costs.
- The GMB project has involved liasion with FGW and Network Rail and is in conjunction with FGW's successful bid for more train carriages. Rail represents good value for money. The 2 WEP rail schemes are the cheapest of all six schemes put forward.
- The rail schemes will have a positive impact on the region. The Greater Bristol Metro scheme will provide increased services for the whole Bristol and Bath travel to work area, including routes to Trowbridge and Westbury, Taunton and Weston-Super-Mare, Cheltenham and Gloucester. Regional services cannot be improved without dealing with bottlenecks in the Bristol and Bath area.
- The rail schemes are the most popular schemes in the bid. 1,200 people sent in postcards to the WEP in support of Portishead reopening. MPS, the business community and the Government of the South West have all been lobbying Government for better local rail.
- Rail and more track (on which tram trains might run in the future) are a vital part of a sustainable public transport system for Greater Bristol and should be integrated within an ITA with the local bus service.
- Portishead running through Temple Meads and then out again on the Severn Beach line could be an essential part of a cross city half hourly service network which could link in with other half hourly services on the Yate to Weston line.
Information about the schemes
- Portishead Rail scheme involves 3.2 miles of new track between Portbury docks and Portishead and three stations. The area suffers from bad traffic congestion since there is only one route out of the town. Cost 28 million.
- Greater Bristol Metro will cost £20 million and involves a new platform at Weston, extra track Weston to Worle, a turnback at Yate, new trains. In comparison the A380 South Devon Link Road is estimated to cost £110 million, Wiltshire's bypasses £60 million and Bristol's Callington Road Link £69 million.
- Swindon to Kemble double-tracking will allow an increased number of services to run through the Cotswolds and provide an alternative route to Wales when the Severn tunnel is closed. It will allow Swindon Council to build a new station in the north-west of the borough in the future.
These are email addresses of the Cabinet Members for Transport in the major authorities:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
These are email addresses of the members of the South-West Regional Assembly Executive:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Alan.Connett@teignbridge.gov.uk, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
We have put a comma between the email addresses so all you need to do is cut and paste the addresses into your list of recipients.
THANKS VERY MUCH!
Ultra light rail consultants/engineers meet local councillors and officers
We brought experts in Ultra light rail technology to Bristol to do a presentation to the Executive Member for Transport, councillors from all parties and officers from the West of England and Bristol City Council on an ULR alternative for the Ashton Park and Ride Bus Rapid Transit route. A report will be submitted for further consideration at the end of May. For details of the green credentials of ULR see the attached document here (PDF).
Bath & North East Somerset
A member of the Alliance raised the issue of an Integrated Transport Authority at a public meeting in Bath. The report of the public meeting is available at Better Bath. We are organising meetings with political parties in BANES to seek their agreement for joining an ITA along with Bristol City and South Gloucestershire councils.
Greater Bristol bids to be Cycle Demonstration City
The TfGB writes in support of Bristol City and S.Gloucs bid for Greater Bristol to become the UK's first ever Cycle Demonstration City. Winning the bid would result in £9 million being spent on cycling infrastructure, routes and promotion within the next three years. Half of this will come from Cycling England. The results will be announced in Bike week in June. For more details go to cyclingengland.co.uk
Bus Rapid Transit
The steering group of the Alliance decided to oppose all the BRT routes that would use existing cycle routes such as the Bristol to Bath Railway Path, the Malago Greenway and the Frome Greenway or existing rail lines such as the Harbour to the Create Centre rail track. We propose instead an alternative Ultra Light Rail option for the Long Ashton Park and Ride to the city centre route with extensions to Temple Meads and Cabot Circus using the existing rail track, new rail track and on-street running in the city centre. Our document containing our alternative to BRT for the entire Emersons Green to Long Ashton Park and Ride route was sent to councillors from all parties on Bristol City Council. The document is available for download here (PDF)
The Alliance meet councillors from each of the Bristol political parties to discuss the creation of an STA (and other transport issues) and all councillors offer their support in talking to their colleagues in other West of England councils yet to discuss the issue of an STA.
Bristol City Councillors vote unanimously for the creation of a (Strategic) Greater Bristol Transport Authority at a full meeting of the Council. Email and paper petitions with over 2,000 signatures was presented by Councillor Charlie Bolton. All Bristol?s MPs had indicated their support for an STA prior to the meeting. The Alliance present a statement to the full council to thank councillors for their support and outlining the type of improvements we would like from an STA.
Transport Authority Motion
The Alliance approaches all parties on the Bristol City Council and the Conservative Party agrees to submit a motion to the Tuesday 24th July full Council meeting in support of the creation of a Transport Authority for the Greater Bristol Region as follows:
Please note that the motion below has been received for the Meeting of Full Council scheduled for 24th July 2007, which is the first motion received for that meeting:
Cllr Richard Eddy to move
'This Council supports the principle of setting up a Strategic Transport Authority for the Greater Bristol Region recognising the opportunities raised in the Government's Local Transport Bill to improve powers over the bus service and related matters'.
The Alliance will be attending the 24th July meeting at which the petition (both e-petition and paper petition) will be presented by Charlie Bolton, Green Councillor for Southville.The Alliance will talking to all parties in the run up to the meeting in order to get as many votes in favour of a Transport Authority as we can.
Draft Local Transport Bill
The Government publishes its Draft Local Transport Bill which contains provision for Local Authorities that do not currently have Transport Authorities to ask for one to be created in their area without the need for new legislation. The same bill introduces bus reform including Quality Contracts which will allow a more simplified franchising of a bus network by a Transport Authority (similar to the current situation in London) a measure that has been lobbied for by existing PTAs. This would a big step forward to re-exerting local control of the bus network.
Manifesto sent to 106 candidates
The Alliance wrote to all 106 candidates in the Bristol City Council elections, sending them a copy of our Manifesto and two demands and asking them to support the creation of a Transport Authority. Replies in support were received from members of the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green parties. At a hustings on transport organised by Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways, candidates from all parties in local elections expressed support for a Transport Authority.
20 groups are so far supporting the manifesto
The Council Labour Group have set up a Council epetition proposing that the Council introduces a speed limit of 20mph in residential areas. This is a key demand in our manifesto so please support it via:
New groups supporting Manifesto
Alliance against the South Bristol Ring Road and Sustainable Southville are the most recent groups to sign up to the Manifesto ? the total is now 15 groups.
Council ePetition launched
A Bristol City Councilor, Charlie Bolton (Green Party) supported the Manifesto by setting up an ePetition, as covered in the Evening Post.
The Transport for Bristol Manifesto was launched on 6th November outside Bristol Council House.
The launch was fully covered in the local press, Bristol Evening Post, Bristol Observer and Venue Magazine. It was also covered in some key national press like Local Transport Today, Planning magazine and the Surveyor.
The Alliance wrote to all the political parties asking them to support the Manifesto and consider demanding more powers and funding from national government.