There’s some sterling research on the role of First Group and the BRT scheme over on Bristol Indymedia by Cyclopath.
They point out the guided bus used in the sketch for the proposed BRT route on Bristol and Bath Railway Path is of a type developed by First Bus and is exclusive to them. So it looks like it’ll make little difference at this point if Bristol’s lame duck transport boss, Mark Bradshaw, throws them off the planning team as he claims he will.
Cyclopath also highlights the relationship between the Labour Party and their secret donor Moir Lockhead, chairman of First Group. Although it’s doubtful this news this will come as any surprise to long-suffering Bristolians perplexed at the state of their bus service.
There’s little to be optimistic about when it comes to the other firms involved in this multi-million pound wrecking project either.
Some of you may recognise the name Atkins, the huge multi-national civil engineering group the West of England Partnership have employed to develop their BRT. They were part of the doomed Metronet group that took on the public/private partnership deal forced on Transport for London by Gordon Brown to run the tube.
A deal they bailed out of last autumn – when the government refused to give them any more handouts – landing the tax payer with a £300m bill for their incompetence.
A recent House of Commons Transport Select Committee report into the expensive disaster even said talked directly of Metronet/Atkins’ “pathetic under-delivery” on the project and concluded:
“The government should bear the Metronet debacle in mind if and when its parent companies next come to bid for publicly-funded work.”
Not a piece of advice being heeded by the West of England Partnership, any local councillors or their well remunerated transport officers then.
Meanwhile the other civil engineering firm with their feet under the West of England Partnership’s table are Halcrow, the firm behind the massively over budget Channel Tunnel Rail Link. A project described by parliament as “dogged by wildly optimistic assumptions” while the benefits were “marginal”.
That’s quite a team our leaders have assembled for us …