Bus system criticised

PUBLISHED: 16:04 19 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 25 May 2010

A BUS rapid transport system offers no solution to Portishead's commuter traffic misery say railway campaigners.

A BUS rapid transport system offers no solution to Portishead's commuter traffic misery say railway campaigners.

The Portishead Railway Group, backed by thousands of residents, has spent years campaigning for the railway line between Portishead and Bristol to be re-opened for passenger travel.

Now, however, it has been revealed that a bus rapid transport system is also being considered as a solution to the traffic congestion endured by motorists trying to get in and out of Portishead at peak times.

A North Somerset Council document called the Core Strategy says it will promote reopening the Portishead to Bristol line for passenger services but also the use of a bus rapid transit, which has angered many people in the town.

Alan Matthews, chairman of the Railway Group says the people of Portishead urgently need an alternative route to get in and out of the town.

Currently, roads become gridlocked during the rush hour and an accident or obstruction on the main A369 road can result in Portishead becoming completely isolated.

He said: "Using a bus rapid transport scheme just will not work.

"The plan suggests the buses join the A369 outside Portishead so they will still have junctions, roundabouts and traffic lights to contend with.

"This option may get the people out of Portishead but only to join the traffic jams further along the route."

North Somerset deputy leader Councillor Elfan Ap Rees said the council has to look at all transport options, both in pragmatic terms and in cost terms as the Department for Transport will require the solution to be cost-effective.

He said: "There is no reason why a seamless Rapid Transport couldn't run all the way into Bristol city centre, using the guided tracks proposed for the system and the Greater Bristol Bus Network corridors."

The council is continuing to cost out the rail option but is also looking at alternatives.

Cllr Ap Rees added: "We anticipate our investigations will be complete by the end of March, when we will have a better feel for which option we can go for.

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