BRT: "A gigantic pile of steaming dung"

By Bluebaldee (Originally posted as a comment)

The link to the BRT Project Board documents is very useful and uncovers a number of interesting facts about BRT.

The overarching fact that I’ve discovered is that BRT in general is actually a gigantic pile of steaming dung.

I’ll elaborate. The proposed Emerson’s Green to Bristol City Centre BRT line (called J2 in the feasibility study) has the lowest “modal shift” (the number of people who will be persuaded out of their cars and onto BRT buses) of all the proposed routes. It’s also the second most expensive at a whopping £50 million plus.

So the Einsteins at the West of England Partnership have plumped for the route that will have the lowest impact on congestion with the added bonus of being hideously expensive. And they haven’t anticipated the public opposition to destroying the Railway Path.

Well done girls and boys.

In addition, the second leg of the route from the City Centre to Ashton Vale will have to cross the Portishead freight line. The CONsultant’s report states that this could raise a major deliverability issue (in fact the “highest risk”) as Network Rail will kick up a stink. This line will also use the Ashton Avenue Rail Bridge and part of the disused railway line, which would form part of the potential Portishead passenger line.

All of the above has massive ramifications for the campaign to open a rail passenger service from Portishead to Bristol. If the BRT line is built, the frieght line can never be used as a passenger line. The frequency of passenger services could never be acommodated with the BRT line crossing the heavy rail tracks. Also the hoped-for rail passenger line wouldn’t be able to use Ashton Avenue Bridge.

So basically if this BRT line gets the go ahead you can kiss goodbye to any hope for a Bristol to Portishead passenger rail service. Permanently.

Other gems hidden in the depths of this document include the possibility of running a two-lane busway across College Green, up Whiteladies Rd and across The Downs (Cribbs to Centre route).

Also FOSBR will love the idea of tearing up the Severn Beach Line to run another BRT route out to Avonmouth. And I’m sure that the good citizens of Bishopston will welcome the proposal to run a two lane busway along Gloucester Rd.

To be fair to the CONsultants, Steer Davies Gleave, they did state that use of the Bristol to Bath Railway Path “could become contentious” but the clever people at the WEP have chosen to ignore this.

After carefully studying the BRT proposals I’ve decided that the whole scheme is utter bollocks and would benfit immeasurably from being thrown into the River Frome (they also want to further concrete this river over) and forgotten about.

This is what you get when you employ CONsultants from London (Steer Davies Gleave, 28-32 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9PD ,Tel 020 7919 8500 – in case you wondered) who haven’t got a fucking clue about Bristol and Bristolians to do your work for you and then blithely agree to the first crackpot idea they come up with, eh Mr Bradshaw?

Get rid of the whole sorry discredited First-driven BRT idea and get this shitty Government to invest in our chronically underfunded and criminally underused urban rail network.

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3 Responses to BRT: "A gigantic pile of steaming dung"

  1. Sarah says:

    Wow. Thanks bluebaldee, that’s the closest reading of the documents I’ve seen. Time for the good people of Portishead (and Bishopston) to get out on the web and tell the world what they think

  2. Chris Hutt says:

    Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) isn’t a bad concept in principle. They’ve done amazing things with it in Bogota, of all places –

    But the BRT bus ways are normally provided at the expense of road space, often running down the middle of a motorway. That way motorists stuck in jams have it rammed down their throats that they are the pathetic ones, while BRT users can enjoy feeling smug as they whizz past the suckers.

    That’s how it has to be if we’re going to get the message across to the auto-addicts that they’re the problem, the anomaly in the modern world. We just can’t afford to indulge their anti-social activities any longer. It’s destroying the fucking ecosystem on which we all depend, for chrissakes.

    So what do the cretins at WEP do with BRT? they take it off the roads to free them up for more cars and push it onto alignments that in many cases are the few refuges left for cyclists and walkers to enjoy without the intrusion of motor traffic!

    It could only happen in Bristol!

  3. Bluebaldee says:

    The problem with the BRT concept in Bristol is that many of the proposed lines aren’t situated on roadways as Chris Hutt states above and the scoping document by Steer Davies Gleave confirms.

    If the network goes ahead we will simply be repeating the dreadful mistakes made in the 60’s and 70’s and further carving up the city with more concrete scars.

    Each busway will be around 14m wide and many of them will cut across or along green space. There will also be a lot of compulsory purchases and demolitions, further blighting the cityscape.

    We’ve got a half-decent urban rail network that’s totally underused – let’s bring it back into use, fully integrate it with existing bus services, run a couple of BRT lines down existing roads and forget these bonkers ideas from the WEP!

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