Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Free bus initiative: the solution to Redland transport problems?

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By Laura_Local | Sunday, January 09, 2011, Redland People

We recently looked at parking problems in Redland and I hinted at a potential solution in improved public transport. I then stumbled across a link to theFree Bus initiative on the Sustainable Redland website - something which could transform public transport in Bristol.

Basically, it is a non-profit organisation which asks those who can to become members or donate but which aims to provide free travel for all. The scheme looks set to start with one simple route around the centre from Temple Meads to Broadmead and the Hippodrome but if this goes well, will expand to include more routes further afield to places like Redland.

A spokesman for Free Bus said: "Bristol City Council subsidises the bus network for £4.7 million per year, whilst entirely free public transport in Hasselt, Belgium, costs £4.2 million per year. The cost of a fully loaded short-hop bus journey is 23p per passenger."

When you think about the £2 or £3 fares you currently pay for a bus journey in the city and the profits they must be making you wonder why we haven't aleady pursued this Free Bus initiative.

Free Bus is very open with it's running costs on its website and says it needs £25,000 to be able to run the initial route for six months. It is already collecting pledges from potential members and hopes to be up and running in April.

We've been held t ransom for too long by the First Group, be it on the buses or the trains. They appear to be able to charge whatever they want for a sub standard service so it was with great excitement that I read about this initiative which has the potential to change the face of public transport in Bristol for the better.

And once we have decent, affordable (in this instance free) public transport there is no reason to sit in rush hour traffic in your car, wasting petrol and polluting the air. You can simply join others on the Free Bus whizzing to town in the bus lane.

Of course, better still - put your best foot forward and walk or hop on your bike but that comes with its own risks!

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