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Author Topic: Trams for Bath  (Read 4491 times)
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2017, 07:10:14 pm »


You could go for...


...the 'Bristol' solution - a 'tram-like experience' which looks like a bus, smells like a bus and quacks like a bus.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2017, 08:53:00 pm »


You could go for...


...the 'Bristol' solution - a 'tram-like experience' which looks like a bus, smells like a bus and quacks like a bus.
Quacks? A right Donald Duck of a solution!
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grahame
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2019, 07:27:16 am »

Bath Tram story - continued at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=19268 and in the press again recently ... from Somerset Live

Quote
A £450,000 investment in studies to get Bath moving has been hailed has a shot in the arm by campaigners who want to bring trams back to the city.

Bristol and Bath Trams chairman Dave Andrews said reviving the network was the only effective way to tackle congestion and attract more businesses, and argued it should expand to Radstock and other Somerset towns.

The West of England Combined Authority (Weca) study will run alongside a £1.95million project to assess the feasibility of a mass transit system between Bristol and Bath, that will again consider the use of trams.

The scheme aims to prompt a “step change” in how people travel but could cost £100million to draw up plans before any construction work begins.

Speaking after last week's meeting of the Bristol and Bath Trams group, Mr Andrews said: “This is excellent news and we hope that the study confirms what we have been promoting - i.e. [a tram network] - on the basis that buses or busways have never solved a traffic problem in any British city.

It goes on ...

Quote
“Car drivers simply will not use buses as they do not offer the required quality of service, in terms of comfort, prestige, reliability that a tram can.

“Numerous cities in Europe have a tram system, including historic cities, and those smaller than Bath, where it is obvious that only a tram can deliver less traffic congestion and commercial regeneration, and it is amazing that a high profile heritage city such as Bath does not have one.

“Ultimately, we need Radstock and other Somerset towns connected by light rail/tram to the Bath-Bristol network to enable people from out of the cities to get to work, on time, reliably and at not excessive cost.”

I do understand that a lot of people still feel they're somehow "lowering themselves" if they use a bus rather than a private car - that's the "prestige" argument ... not so sure on the comfort and reliability arguments - unless you have dedicated rights of way to make the trams more reliable, which perhaps BaNES could do for buses if they had the political will.


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martyjon
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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2019, 08:14:44 am »

More public money being spent to achieve what we already know, introduce congestion charges to tempt motorists to use P & R facilities.

A P & R site was identified in the Yate / Sodbury area, where I live, for travel into Bristol. Conditions set by the LA was that NO additional bus services would be provided / supported to the regular half hourly service which admittedly was supplemented at peak hours, the bus service would not divert to the P & R site, motorists would have to walk to the nearest A432 bus stop for the bus admittedly, again, was only about 200 metres distant.

The LA prevaricated so much the land owner sought another use for the land, a solar farm.

Only yesterday did I receive the opening shot for the forthcoming LA elections in which the political party leaflet states they will progress the P & R from Yate into Bristol on the previously identified site, should I tell them there's a solar farm on the site now or shall I let them reel from the shock when they find out how much compo they are in for to close down said solar farm and provide the promised P & R facility or will it be another election promise not fulfilled.
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grahame
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« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2019, 08:34:20 am »

More public money being spent to achieve what we already know, introduce congestion charges to tempt motorists to use P & R facilities.

Ah ... the clean air zone charges that could have been some help are now not going to apply to cars.   Or I don't think they are.  Local elections in May may be a reason for the ruling group to choose to apply the extra charge for non-compliant vehicles to buses, coaches and lorries but not private cars - but the  clean air zone won't be implemented until after May,  and goodness knows what an incoming administration will actually do.

There is, of course, quite close correlation between clean air zones and traffic congestion now (in 2019) but in 10 years time, with most vehicles being electric (??) you could have perfectly clean air but still congestion!
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« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2019, 09:30:59 am »

I never understand why public transport is always aimed at people from outside of the town or city. Park and Ride is banded about like it's the solution to everything, when it is only a small part of a solution, and probably something that shouldn't be the first priority. However I guess it is something that means car use can still be justified. Park and Ride in Britain normally means duplicating regular bus routes with express services meaning more buses in the centre, and more noise and pollution.
I still think what needs to be solved first is how people move around the urban area of a town or city. Get those that live in cities out of their cars and we take a huge step towards beating congestion, and crucially that needs to be something better than a standard bus. It's not what's powering the public transport mode that causes most people to make a choice, it's what it's following. The trail (track etc.) that the vehicles follow being fixed is always more successful in urban areas to entice users, even if it is mixed with regular traffic. Start these types of transport on the edge of urban areas at Park and Ride sites and we don't have to duplicate routes into town. Buses are still part of the solution, more as feeder services, but the main corridors do need something different though.

Cheers
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Lee
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« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2019, 10:05:36 am »

I do understand that a lot of people still feel they're somehow "lowering themselves" if they use a bus rather than a private car - that's the "prestige" argument ... not so sure on the comfort and reliability arguments - unless you have dedicated rights of way to make the trams more reliable, which perhaps BaNES could do for buses if they had the political will.

I nearly always find that trams are more comfortable, have a smoother ride, and are more reliable than conventional buses. This is because the vehicles are almost always of a higher spec than a conventional bus, they do tend to have more dedicated rights of way available to them, and where they don't, more thought goes into how trams will integrate with general traffic as part of the planning process than is the case with conventional bus, which in turn are key reasons why conventional buses tend to be more stop/start, and less comfortable and reliable by comparison.

My wife, who is disabled, loves trams and hates buses. This is because she finds trams far easier to enter and exit than with a mobility aid than conventional buses, and that there is significantly more provision, both general and dedicated, that allows passengers like her to co-exist with those who have pushchairs, buggies and the like, and travel together without the issues that crop up with the more limited space available on conventional buses.

However, I lived in Bath for several years, and the second biggest reason why I think this is likely to be a non-starter is because of the scarcity of suitable routes available in Bath for a potential tram system. Therefore, I fear they may revisit some of the route ideas they had for BRT as part of the Bath Transportation Package a decade or so ago which would completely sink the whole thing, particularly if they try and include any version of a Bathampton/Batheaston Park & Ride.



But the biggest reason I think this is a non-starter is because they are apparently going for a six-year process costing over £100 million in total, before we even get to spend any on building the infrastructure itself...

Edit to scale down image for easier forum display - Grahame. If you select "view image in separate window" you can still see it full size.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2019, 10:56:32 am »

I do understand that a lot of people still feel they're somehow "lowering themselves" if they use a bus rather than a private car - that's the "prestige" argument ...

I once heard someone who felt the need to explain to a bus driver that he wouldn't normally catch a bus, and that was only using one today because his car was being serviced. I don't know what he expected the driver to do; maybe he hoped he'd doff his cap and say what a pleasure it was to have someone with 'class' on board for a change, or perhaps he hoped he might offer to let him drive...

I never understand why public transport is always aimed at people from outside of the town or city. Park and Ride is banded about like it's the solution to everything, when it is only a small part of a solution, and probably something that shouldn't be the first priority.

Public transport has to cater with a variety of different needs. Many people coming into a city from its outlying areas already use informal park-and-ride arrangements such as meeting and parking in the suburbs and then sharing a car into town, or parking near a station or bus route. I don't have the exact figures to hand, but here in Bristol a significant amount of private motor traffic is out-of-town commuters (and I suspect Bath is the same); if they can be enticed into using formal park-and-rides sites then everyone benefits through reduced congestion, parking and pollution.

Park and ride schemes tend to be sited on arterial routes with existing or improvable bus priorities, so they can be set up relatively quickly and easily (if anything in the world of public transport could be described as 'quick' or 'easy'). For the complex web of intra-urban services it is much harder to balance the requirement to prioritise buses with the needs of other users who may wish to walk, cycle, drive or park on the roads they pass through. 
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johnneyw
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« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2019, 12:41:33 pm »

Perhaps some valuable local insight into the viability of P & R serving an urban rail based system will be obtained from the results of the Bristol Portway P&R station when it is finally up and running (and when the service becomes half hourly).
Just back from a visit to Krakow, I was very impressed with the tram network in the old town (far outnumbering buses) although I concede that the Bath and Krakow old town road systems are not necessarily comparable.
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« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2019, 02:59:11 pm »

Perhaps some valuable local insight into the viability of P & R serving an urban rail based system will be obtained from the results of the Bristol Portway P&R station when it is finally up and running (and when the service becomes half hourly).

I wouldn't hold your breath about that... Line capacity is not there; the signalling installation couldn't cope; the train with its circuitous route actually tales longer than the bus currently does to get to BTM; and even the provision of a simple single platform might run into difficulties over having to purchase land and/or lose parking spaces (which itself is the opposite intention of a P&R scheme Wink ) Whilst doing some research about this on another forum I happened to notice that a) the only people proposing this are some Bristol City Councillors and b) the P&R bus service receives a council subsidy. It might not be too much of a leap to conclude that the only reason some are in favour of it is to save the council money and put the financial burden on DfT and GWR...

But to get back on topic, we should perhaps remember why trams fell from favour in the UK in the first place, which was mainly due to their inflexibility. They cannot go around obstacles like a bus, and they are slow to react to new traffic flows. Imagine Bristol had a tram network, for example, before the virtual new town of Bradley Stoke was built; would the lines have been extended out there even by now?

Trams work best when they have their own dedicated thoroughfares or are only sharing them with pedestrians and other forms of public transport. Where there is an interface with "ordinary" road traffic there can easily be problems - one I witnessed about 20 years ago was in Fleetwood, where an idiot who had parked a delivery truck without sufficient thought managed to bring the Blackpool tram service to a standstill until someone went to find the driver and got him to shift it! Smiley Such things would be one of the problems in Bath because, without a bypass and few alternative through routes, so much road traffic has to run so close to the city centre.

Any thoughts of reintroducing trams to Bath would involve a lot more than digging the odd road up and laying rails; it would mean a complete transformation of the city centre's road network, including that bypass that was rejected in the 60s on grounds of cost (as much of it would have to be in tunnel).
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johnneyw
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« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2019, 03:37:57 pm »

Perhaps some valuable local insight into the viability of P & R serving an urban rail based system will be obtained from the results of the Bristol Portway P&R station when it is finally up and running (and when the service becomes half hourly).

I wouldn't hold your breath about that... Line capacity is not there; the signalling installation couldn't cope; the train with its circuitous route actually tales longer than the bus currently does to get to BTM; and even the provision of a simple single platform might run into difficulties over having to purchase land and/or lose parking spaces (which itself is the opposite intention of a P&R scheme Wink ) Whilst doing some research about this on another forum I happened to notice that a) the only people proposing this are some Bristol City Councillors and b) the P&R bus service receives a council subsidy. It might not be too much of a leap to conclude that the only reason some are in favour of it is to save the council money and put the financial burden on DfT and GWR...

But to get back on topic, we should perhaps remember why trams fell from favour in the UK in the first place, which was mainly due to their inflexibility. They cannot go around obstacles like a bus, and they are slow to react to new traffic flows. Imagine Bristol had a tram network, for example, before the virtual new town of Bradley Stoke was built; would the lines have been extended out there even by now?

Trams work best when they have their own dedicated thoroughfares or are only sharing them with pedestrians and other forms of public transport. Where there is an interface with "ordinary" road traffic there can easily be problems - one I witnessed about 20 years ago was in Fleetwood, where an idiot who had parked a delivery truck without sufficient thought managed to bring the Blackpool tram service to a standstill until someone went to find the driver and got him to shift it! Smiley Such things would be one of the problems in Bath because, without a bypass and few alternative through routes, so much road traffic has to run so close to the city centre.

Any thoughts of reintroducing trams to Bath would involve a lot more than digging the odd road up and laying rails; it would mean a complete transformation of the city centre's road network, including that bypass that was rejected in the 60s on grounds of cost (as much of it would have to be in tunnel).

I sure won't hold my breath until it opens but the completion date is by the end of the year, all funded, land aquired and ground surveys complete. The minor signalling changes are, I am informed, included in the budget and half hourly services will be part of the Metrowest project.
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« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2019, 04:24:30 pm »

I wouldn't hold your breath about that... Line capacity is not there; the signalling installation couldn't cope; the train with its circuitous route actually tales longer than the bus currently does to get to BTM...

According to travelwest.info, it's 25 minutes from Portway P&R to Temple Meads on the 902 plus a 7-minute walk from the bus stop at the end into Temple Meads station, whilst the train does it in 28 to 34 minutes - so broadly comparable. Others will be able to confirm whether the bus is ever delayed by traffic. The train is, as you say, circuitous - but if you want to get to Clifton, or the Gloucester Road area, or Stapleton Road or Lawrence Hill, you might think that was a good thing.

Any thoughts of reintroducing trams to Bath would involve a lot more than digging the odd road up and laying rails; it would mean a complete transformation of the city centre's road network, including that bypass that was rejected in the 60s on grounds of cost (as much of it would have to be in tunnel).

I must be misreading this because it almost seems like you are advocating the resurrection of the Buchanon Tunnel! Cost may have been a factor in the abandonment of this scheme, but public protest would have killed it even had the money been forthcoming. I do however think it quite likely that within a few years Bath's central road layout will be radically transformed - by the simple expedient of banning all private motor traffic except essential users. Such a move would allow for street running of trams in that area; arguably the two things could go hand in glove.
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« Reply #27 on: March 30, 2019, 04:30:26 pm »

There is, of course, quite close correlation between clean air zones and traffic congestion now (in 2019) but in 10 years time, with most vehicles being electric (??) you could have perfectly clean air but still congestion!
I doubt it. Even if most cars and buses are electric in 10 years time, it's unlikely many lorries will be. More to the point, electric vehicles still produce air pollution in use: about 50% of the particulates from cars come from the tyres and brakes.
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« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2019, 05:28:42 pm »

...about 50% of the particulates from cars come from the tyres and brakes.

I have searched for the facts behind this claim and struggled rather because it's not just particulates, but their sizes that matter. We can dismiss the argument about brakes, because although EV's are heavier than their ICE equivalents, extensive use of regenerative braking means they produce fewer brake dust particulates. It must be the case that EVs produce more tyre particulates though - but are these the ones we worry about? Isn't it the smaller soot particles that we're concerned about?

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« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2019, 05:39:15 pm »

Any thoughts of reintroducing trams to Bath would involve a lot more than digging the odd road up and laying rails; it would mean a complete transformation of the city centre's road network, including that bypass that was rejected in the 60s on grounds of cost (as much of it would have to be in tunnel).

I must be misreading this because it almost seems like you are advocating the resurrection of the Buchanon Tunnel! Cost may have been a factor in the abandonment of this scheme, but public protest would have killed it even had the money been forthcoming. I do however think it quite likely that within a few years Bath's central road layout will be radically transformed - by the simple expedient of banning all private motor traffic except essential users. Such a move would allow for street running of trams in that area; arguably the two things could go hand in glove.

I wasn't advocating anything, just pointing out that a lot of the through traffic has to go close to the city centre - the A4 Bristol-Bath-Chippenham road via Queen Square, and the A4-A36 route via Widcombe. True there are diversionary routes to the south of Bath from Newton St Loe to Limpley Stoke via Combe Down, but it is not advertised as a bypass and still runs through urban areas. To the north of the city there is nothing unless you include a convoluted route from Weston to Larkhall "around the houses" via Camden.

I agree with you that street running of trams in central Bath would be perfectly feasible if there were less other vehicles around, either through banning cars, congestion charges and no doubt other ingenious schemes, but that would be of little use if those trams then ran into traffic jams after a few hundred yards. And traffic jams full of vehicles who are not planning to park up and then aunter down Milsom Street, but are on their way from Saltford to Corsham, or Bradford on Avon to the RUH, or Bristol to Southampton, or wherever.

Bath has needed a bypass for over 60 years. Knocking half of the plce down to build it would be unacceptable; going to either the north or south would involve difficult terrain, ANOBs and the natives getting restless, which was of course why tunnelling was suggested in the first place, and that wasn't acceptable either.

So Bath has never got a bypass because everyone knew what they didn't want, but nobody could say what they did want, so nothibg happened. Now where have I heard that sort of statement in the last week or so? Smiley

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