Bluesky Buses

There’s plans published in tonight’s Express and Star for some new ‘Sprinter Buses’ to link (amongst others) Walsall & Birmingham, with the termination points being Five Ways and Walsall’s rail station.

NB: the print-only story has more information than the linked article.

Apparently, this will appear in five years, and according to Gary Taylor (seemingly something to do with this shower with the shit, non-accessible, flash-heavy, impossible to use website and also The Argent Group), will be:

Congestion Free

as it will

have priority on the road

I hate to pour water on the idea (OK, I don’t, as I have a feeling this is another bluesky bit of dreaming passed off as fact by the press), but as someone who uses the A34 daily, “congestion free” isn’t going to happen. no matter how much prioritisation, bus gates and other bullshit traffic managment you use. If there was an option to do so, then the current (recently introduced) bus lanes would extend all the way from Walsall to Birmingham city Centre, and the 51 buses would flow freely already. They don’t, because there’s limited width from the junction with Broadway to about 1/4 mile north of M6 J7 with the result that the existing buses all get snarled up the queues to the busy, poorly-designed junction and/or the meeting of the A34 and A4041 at Scott Arms. Given that there’s a budget of £15million, and a timeframe of 5 years, I very much doubt the required road changes are achievable.

I don’t understand: There’s already a rail link that doesn’t need the A34 at all. Why not invest in what exists and make it better? Increase journey frequency on the Cross-City Line and Walsall-New Street, and you’ve done it without putting buses on the road. Hell, if you make it good enough, you might actually reduce congestion on the A34 by getting people out of their cars. Still, Birmingham FoE seem keen, admitting that current buses are slow and have an image problem (which for a lot of people, they do). I’d just like them to explain in what way these will be different, and where the dedicated road space will come from without some major widening of the A34?

One Response to “Bluesky Buses”

  1. Countrie Bumkin Says:

    It’s probably because there has been a “deal” done somewhere to get funds away from the rail system. Crazy idea.