With a city such as Bath, the majority of journeys by public transport will be made from the suburbs to the city centre or from one side of the city to the other; again passing through the centre.
If tramway routes passed directly through the centre, this would cause problems with tram congestion, prevent
delivery and collection vehicles from stopping in the commercial area and occupy already overcrowded streets.

A circular route has been identified which will take the tram service around the centre, passing the end of each major shopping street but using only existing traffic-free routes. This is possible because trams are rail-guided and only need a narrow corridor in which to work safely. The narrowness of the streets would make such a scheme impossible to operate with any vehicle which produced exhaust fumes.

The routes will have to operate in one direction only because there is insufficient room for double track and the problem of synchronising services to meet at passing places would place an intolerable constraint on service planning. The clockwise direction has been chosen to reduce lane-crossing at junctions.


There are three main ways of operating a 'circle + radials' system:


 a) Operate the radials as separate services with interchange points at each junction with a continuously-running circle.


Any journey other than directly along one radial will involve at least one, sometimes two, changes of vehicle. This is a most unsatisfactory arrangement and has been rejected.


 b) Operate services right across the city using one half of the circle for the journey in one direction and the other half for the return journey.


This is confusing to passengers who must ensure they are travelling in the required direction and will have to remember the locations of two different stops for the outward and inward journeys.



 c) Run each inbound route around the circle before it returns whence it came.

This has many advantages for passenger including easy interchange between routes which can be made at any convenient point on the circle. The use of tickets which allowed a break of journey would encourage the use of the tram for complex trips and casual shopping. It is proposed that travel around the circle should be free of charge so as to produce the psychological effect that any part of the city centre is as accessible as any other.
The main disadvantage of this way of operating is the frequency of the service around the circle, about one tram per minute, which may cause the track to wear more rapidly than on the radial routes. Allowance must be made for replacing this track after about 25 years whereas the rest of the system should have a 50 year life.

HOW IT WORKS (With Option 'c')

Some typical journeys will serve to illustrate how the system would work:

Shopper - Southdown to City Centre
The shopper catches a tram from Southdown to the City Centre, alighting at the most convenient place to begin shopping. A return ticket can be purchased on the inbound tram or the shopper may already have bought a book of single or return tickets at reduced price or may have a tram pass. During the journey into town, the conductor clips the ticket.

Whilst shopping, the shopper may need to journey from one side of the shopping area to the other. If it is convenient to use the tram, this can be done at no extra cost because travel around the City Centre Circle is free.

Having completed the shopping, the shopper returns towards home, boarding at any point on the City Centre Circle. If a return ticket is being used, it will be clipped a second time during the return journey - thus invalidating it for any further journeys. If the shopper wanted to break the journey at Moorland Road, in order to do some further shoppping, the journey home could be completed for the cost of an extra single ticket. If the shopper had a tram pass, the journey could be completed at no extra cost.

Student - Oldfield Park to University of Bath
The student would have a student travel pass, obviating the need for ticket handling and speeding up the boarding process. The first part of the journey would enter the City Centre Circle at Kingsmead Square - at some point between there and Terrace Walk, the student would need to alight and catch another tram (bound for the University) - this could be caught at the same stop. If the student wished, he or she could walk from one stop to a different one through town, stopping for refreshment or making purchases.

Out-Patient or Visitor - Radstock to Royal United Hospital
The patient or visitor would drive to the Odd Down Park + Ride site and purchase a combined parking and tram return ticket valid for the day. The tram would take the patient into the City Centre. At least one of the City Centre Circle stops (Southgate?) should be covered or enclosed, to make an indoors waiting area. The patient would alight from the tram (level boarding) and await the tram to the Hospitals at the same stop.

A visitor or patient with unimpaired mobility might wish to alight from the tram at one of the other City Centre Circle stops and walk around town in order to make purchases. The hospital-bound tram could then be boarded from any of the other stops in order to resume the journey.

Commuter - North Wilts to a Central Office or Outlying place of employment
The commuter who did not wish to use rural bus sevices or train would drive towards Bath. At present, one single Park + Ride site is planned in the Batheaston area, but a series of smaller sites may ultimately prove to be the better option. The commuter may have a combined P+R/tram pass or book of tickets, or may purchase tickets daily as required. The combined ticket would be valid for at least two return journeys within the day.

The 'outlying' commuter will catch the tram in to the Central Circle and change to another route leading to his or her place of work. The two-journey option allowing this with no extra ticket purchase. The 'central' commuter will have the option to make at least one return journey (at no extra cost) to the P+R site during the day if this becomes necessary.

More about routes?

More about fares?

More about service frequency?

More about track?