Counting the cost of Brown's Britain

£700k – the amount of money central government is prepared to pay towards preparatory work for unwanted congestion charges in the Greater Bristol area.

£0 – the amount of money central government is prepared to pay to reopen the much wanted Portishead-Bristol rail line to passengers in order to actually reduce congestion in the Greater Bristol area.

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5 Responses to Counting the cost of Brown's Britain

  1. This is a great point and very strong example. If we’d had the level of investment needed to significantly expand public transport, make it much more affordable and significantly enhance the quality of travel then, if it was getting people out of their cars, the prospect of congestion charging would not be there. Far from this not happening successive governments have allowed the costs of public transport rise very significantly and in real terms, whilst quality of service remains poor!! Its irrational, scandalous and makes a mockery of all the green claims constantly made by big political parties, since its the one of the key reason why the quality of our lives is not improving.

    Bristol’s transport is in an even worse state than many other UK cities – see Cllr Charlie Bolton’s poll on his blog, which begins…’Bristol City Council spends far less than core cities on public transport – £26 per head of population, compared with£42… ‘

    £42 per head is far too low, so £26 per head is absolutely unacceptable.

  2. bluebaldee says:

    Bristol City Council and Labour’s approach to public transport in our area is a local and national scandal.

    This city has been shortchanged for years now. You only have to travel to Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Glasgow, Cambridge and virtually any other urban area in the UK to see that we’ve been right royally shafted with regard to transport funding for years.

    Our local representatives simply lie when you raise this with them. I wrote to Dawn Primarolo a while back to make this very point and she totally denied that Bristol is losing out. What utter crap. You’ve got eyes woman, bloody well use them!

    It would cost around £7 million to relay the 2500 metres of track, install the signalling and build a modest Park and Ride station at Portishead. That’s just two million more than one of the useless “Shitcase” bus routes that are benighting our city.

    Anyone with half a brain can see that a bus-based transport system (especially one run by the lamentable corporate profiteers, First Group) just will not work in Bristol.

    I’ve got a mate who’s fairly senior in the Transport Dept and had a major hand in drafting the Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP) and even he admits that “Shitcase” buses don’t stand a cat-in-hell’s chance of working as an efficient public transport system.

    But he claims the city’s hands are tied because the Govt won’t comtemplate giving Bristol sufficient funding to implement a segregated system that would actually work.

    This is because our local Councillors and MPs are pathetic cowards who are more concerned about their jobs than serving the Bristolian public who pay their wages.

    They’re simply not prepared to stand up and fight for decent funding for the city.

    I’m not against congestion charging if there was a cheap and reliable alternative but with the current plans outlined in the JLTP, this will never, ever happen.

    The congestion charge will be a tax on getting to work, pure and simple.

    Just think of the poor bastard on an average salary, living in Inner Bristol, without a driveway to park their car, who works in the Northern Fringe.

    Under Labour, they’ll pay to park their car outside their house, pay a daily congestion charge and then pay to park at work, due to the mooted workplace parking charge.

    A very expensive triple whammy as a direct result of shit transport funding, incompetent transport planning and institutionalised corruption in the form of First’s franchise arrangements.

    The only way that this sorry state will be sorted out is if Labour are booted out locally and nationally, and First are thrown out with them.

    18 years ago I demonstrated against the Poll Tax, unfortunately, despite my advancing years, I can see myself demonstrating against the Toll Tax in a few years time.

    Screw them.

  3. Al Shaw says:

    OK. So what will happen if/when Labour are out of power?

    Is there any other credible political party who will bite the bullet and take the hard decisions? The Portishead rail link is just a individual example of a cultural problem – individualism over community, private profit over the common good, short term over long term thinking.

    I’ll go and see what Charlie Bolton has to say about it…..

  4. If Bristol councillors were more concerned with what they can do for Bristol rather than selling Bristol’s Green Spaces to developers things like this wouldn’t happen.
    Even if the government put money in the councillors would only try to siphon it off…

  5. Good questions from Al Shaw. It would certainly shake up the system if larger numbers of greens were elected to local and central government. Greens ask questions and demand policies that others dont – this would at least be a breath of fresh air into very stale system.

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