Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Bus interchange mooted for centre

The Centre, Bristol
A bus interchange is proposed for the eastern side (r) of The Centre

Traffic flow for cars and lorries around The Centre in Bristol could be dramatically changed to make way for a bus "rapid transit" system.

Although council bosses say a formal plan and decision are a long way ahead, they want to open a public debate on ideas for the affected area.

Initial ideas include turning part of The Centre into a bus interchange and closing some roads to cars.

But an Association of British Drivers spokesman said the move was "anti-car".

They should be looking at why people don't use buses now before they start spending millions on this scheme
Bob Bull, Association of British Drivers

Under the plans the road outside the Hippodrome would become two-way, the western end of Baldwin Street closed to cars and lorries and Colston Street be closed to cars and lorries where it joins The Centre.

A Bristol City Council spokesman said work was under way to better understand what impact this could have on existing traffic patterns and existing public transport services and whether it is feasible.

It also promises to look at what other schemes may be possible or necessary to mitigate what is proposed.

Councillor Jon Rogers said: "We will have to revisit the issue of motor traffic and its impact in this space.

'Empty buses'

"By 2015 Bristol will be a very different place. Public transport including bus rapid transit and the greater Bristol bus network will provide a far greater percentage of journeys to The Centre and cyclists will have doubled in number."

But Bob Bull, Bristol co-ordinator for the Association of British Drivers, said the city did not have a 20th Century transport system yet.

"We have buses that don't run when people want them and buses going around empty.

"They should be looking at why people don't use buses now before they start spending millions on this scheme," he added.

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