Sunday, 17 February 2019

Will it take school children to shame us into action?

Dear Deborah, Laura and Waseem

I am hoping to stand as an Independent candidate in next year's election for Metro Mayor because I am so concerned that after fifty years of studying, working and living in the Black Country and Birmingham, road traffic congestion is as bad as it has ever been.

I am asking if you two chief officers and leaders in our community, would please consider giving bus passengers faster journeys into the city centre at the expense of car commuters.  Modal shift from car to bus, in particular is urgent, if only to free up road space for essential car users who need to get about on their lawful business.  Quite apart from the urgent action needed to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

My own suggestions are these:
  1. An experiment on Hagley Road from Halesowen bus station to Five Ways where the nearside lane that carries a bus route is used in its entirety for buses, coaches, taxis, bikes and three to a car sharing.
  2. Car sharing for the driver and two passengers over 18 to use the bus lane.
  3. Legitimate vehicles in the bus lane to have traffic lights weighted in their favour to the disadvantage of the outside lane.  Or, only buses approaching a traffic light changes it to green.
  4. Has this been tried anywhere else in the world?  What do progressive nations like Norway do to boost bus use?
  5. Can we learn from TfL who seem to be more successful in getting people to use buses?
  6. There is a total of £1.41 BILLION to 2026, for five tram extensions, now going into digging up roads on the nearside lane to replace some buses and to prevent commuter/regional trains from returning to our full 120 Kms mainline railway.
  7. Instead of "buses on rails" on rails on roads, buses on roads.
  8. Can this money, under devolution, be used to slash bus fares or to even give fareless buses for all and not just the few lucky ones like me?  And, the money used to speed the transition to electric buses?
  9. Random or constant camera enforcement at traffic lights.
  10. Every bus becomes a Sprint bus.
Is any of this practical?  There has never been an experiment of this nature, as far as I am aware.

Can my suggestions be officially put on the table for you all to discuss, please?  I welcome being put on the spot with difficult questions slung in my direction!

With best wishes

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