THE LOCAL TRANSPORT PLAN FOR
Bath & North East Somerset Council
B&NES website for full Local Transport Plan
4.93 Until 1939 Bath had an extensive tram network serving the city and some of the outlying rural communities. This formed the basis for the bus system which replaced it, and is reflected in today's First Badgerline city bus network. In 1995 a consultants' report commissioned by Avon County and Bath City Councils concluded that it would be feasible to establish a light rapid transit (LRT) system for Bath to link the Newbridge park-and-ride site with the city centre and thence the proposed Lambridge park-and-ride site on the eastern side of the city. consideration was given to the vehicle technologies available, and the study concluded that guided bus offered the best way forward.
4.94 The Council commissioned a further study in 1997 to take into account general LRT developments, and to look at the possibility of providing a more extensive network which would also serve the existing park-and-ride sites at Odd Down and Lansdown. This study confirmed that a guided bus system was the best technology option, based on a balance between implementation cost, funding opportunities and likely patronage and fare revenue. The consultants foresaw the system embracing a combination of segregated busway and on street running. With street running, the system could offer cross-city centre routes and links to the Odd Down and Lansdown park-and-ride sites using bus priority measures along the highway.
4.95 The 1997 report recommended that the guided bus option be investigated further and this has been pursued in the planning of the Western Riverside regeneration area. A public transport spine through the core site, with a segregated busway using the former LMS railway line is foreseen linking westwards to additional park-and-ride facilities outside the urban area. On street running would take place between the site and the city centre.
4.96 A further study carried out in 2000 re-examined the possibility of developing a city-wide tram network. It reaffirmed previous work in recommending that attention should continue to be focused on achieving the east/west Newbridge/ Western Riverside/city centre/lambridge corridor. The study suggested that rail based technology should be consider~d as a possible alternative to guided bus for this route. Elsewhere in the city the study proposed that, whilst other corridors might have long term potential for tram operation, the emphasis should remain for the foreseeable future on enhancing conventional bus ser/ices and introducing bus priorities. This approach is carried forward in the LTP, although the Council has noted the comments about transit systems made in the Eighth Report of the Select Committee on Environment, Transport and the Regions. It is intended to carry out a further tram network study in 2001/02 in order to take advantage of any opportunities that may arise from the Government's Ten Year Transport Plan.
4.97 The planning of the Western Riverside regeneration is continuing, in collaboration with the Regional Development Agency and the landowners, based on the need for implementation of an LRT system and this will need to attract substantial public funding. Detailed work is being carried on the Comprehensive Development Framework into the alignment of the corridor, vehicle technology and a range of other issues. This LTP puts forward a major scheme bid for the development of a LRT scheme, potentially as a PFI project, to provide the essential public transport access to this major brownfield site.