Bristol Mayor changes planned Bus Rapid Transit route

The mayor of Bristol has announced a major change to the planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes in the city.

George Ferguson has decided that neither scheme should run across Prince Street Bridge and the east-west route should not run through the harbour.

The Independent mayor said doing so would clog up the bridge and compromise the historic docks.

But Liberal Democrat councillor Tim Kent said the mayor was putting the entire £200m project in jeopardy.

Mr Ferguson has instructed council officers to come up with alternative routes within the next three weeks.

'Bone of contention'

He said: "It was never satisfactory, it was always going to clog up the bridge by the number of journeys that would have gone over it, both from BRT 2 and BRT 3 - that's the north-south journey as well as the east-west one.

"This prevents BRT basically going through the historic harbour as well which, I think, has been the biggest bone of contention.

"I've got the mandate to do this. I made it absolutely clear during the election my thoughts and concerns about BRT."

But Mr Kent, who was the council's cabinet member for transport before Mr Ferguson took office, said: "It took six years to get to where we are at, so at the eleventh hour, once again, it appears Bristol is about to scrap a transport scheme.

"Is that what we want Bristol to be known for? Or do we want them in London to think 'down in Bristol they can get on with projects, they can deliver'?"

'Never practical'

David Redgewell, from the South West Transport Network, applauded the move.

He said: "It was never practical to run the Bus Rapid Transit scheme through Bristol Harbour.

"It's a tourist area. There are alternative routes; there's Hotwells Road, Cumberland Road, Coronation Road.

"We also welcome the fact he's going to take the buses down through to Bristol temple Meads and to an interchange which is what we called for throughout the public inquiry."

The planned routes run from Ashton Vale to Temple Meads, and from Hengrove to Cribbs Causeway.

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