Guided Bus 'No Better Than Ordinary Buses'
Date Issued: Friday 20th May 2005
County Council's false claims revealed by Government-backed report
An unpublished report by the Transport Research Laboratory, obtained by CAST.IRON, reveals that the County Council's claims that the guided bus would be as attractive as rail have no foundation.
Instead, the report confirms that the perception of guided bus is likely to be similar to conventional buses.
The report, prepared in April 2003, states that 'Given this is the first large-scale separated guided bus track since the Runcorn development over 30 years ago there is little evidence of the precise manner in which potential passengers might view a guided bus service'.
At the Public Inquiry, the Council insisted that a guided bus system in Leeds provided evidence that such a system would be perceived as comparable to a rail system. Many objectors pointed out that this was inappropriate and so take-up of guided bus services would be less than the Council's claims.
The Council rebutted these objections, stating that objectors 'failed to understand' the analogy with Leeds.
However, the TRL report – which the Council already knew about – states that 'The recent Leeds scheme is essentially a system of short separated sections' and does not even consider it for comparison.
"The TRL report clearly shows that there are no grounds for assuming that the guided bus would be perceived any differently than conventional buses", said Tim Phillips, CAST.IRON's chairman. "This is incredibly important, because it means that the services can be equally well provided by a 'Quality Partnership' of road buses – including express services – plus the planned Park and Ride sites. This in turn means the whole case for compulsory purchase of the railway line is defeated, since none of the claimed benefits of the scheme arise from the guideway itself.
"Not only that, it would leave the way clear for the reopening of the railway. There would be huge benefits because this would enable there to be both train AND bus services – all of which can benefit from the Park & Ride sites.
"Now that would be a real improvement in Cambridge's local and regional transport infrastructure instead of the half-baked, ill thought-out, politically-motivated and hugely unpopular guided bus scheme."
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