Monday, 26 March 2012

Green Council helps secure £3.5 million to improve city buses

Brighton and Hove Buses launched its first two 'hybrid' diesel/electric vehicles on the Number 7 route last week - and it was announced on Friday that it has received funding to buy 11 more.

The news means that both total carbon emissions from the city's buses - and fuel consumption - will go down. This is excellent news: not only is it good for the environment, but it will reduce costs too, and therefore, hopefully, fares.

The news comes as the city council's commitment to improving transport in the city impressed civil servants sufficiently to award a £3.5m grant to the city to improve bus accessibility and routes to try and make them a viable alternative to residents wishing to leave their cars at home - or even get rid of them altogether.

The grant will be spent improving services in the Edward Street/Eastern Road Corridor, around the Valley Gardens area (Valley Gardens could be a beautiful city centre park, but after years of neglect it serves a little more than a glorified central reservation at the moment) and to improve bus stops along Lewes Road.

It brings the total external investment in the city's transport infrastructure to more than £8m since the Greens took 'control' of the council last May.

For me, it rather begs the question: if we are to see improvements to bus routes travelling East from the Old Steine, is it time to reconsider diverting them from St James's Street to allow for pedestrian priority, creating the quirky, pedestrianised, tourist hub for Kemp Town that so many have argued for for so long?

Of course many have argued exactly the opposite - particularly residents with reduced mobility who rely on buses to access the streets' shops - but perhaps better serving their needs will be one of the improvements we can expect to see?

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