Friday, 23 March 2012

Blackpool - a Better Bus Area

This morning the Department for Transport has announced the Blackpool Council is one of the successful bidders for the Better Bus Area Fund for the "Bus Led Regeneration of Blackpool Town Centre". Funding of £1.073mn has been awarded by the DfT out of the total £1.5mn project cost

The bid has comprised:
  • Installation of automatic number plate recognition technology give buses priority on five bus routes over 16 town centre junctions with a target to increase reliability by 20% on routes 7, 9, 11 and 14 and allow a frequency increase of one service per hour.
  • A 335m contra flow bus lane would be introduced south bound on Central Drive to save 3 minutes running time to avoid the congested one way system via Albert Road, Coronation St and Reads Avenue
  • upgrading six bus shelters to act as a Town Centre bus hub (Market St, Corporation St, Abingdon St and Clifton St) and a further four to provide improved information
  • Fund a 21 hr/week marketing staff post.

Also announced today is the third round of the "Green Bus Fund" where the differential cost of Hybrid (and other new technology) buses are partially funded by the DfT. Blackpool does not feature in the awards and it is not known if it bid. The picture shows the contrast between the investment in the two local transport modes on the Fylde. Left is 11 year old Dennis Trident 346, newly acquired from Bus Vannin and in its first month of service - the 1987/8 "E" prefix does it little favour though! Right is the publicly funded Bombardier Flexity 2 tram 006 on which little expense has been spared.

Meanwhile Trident 348 has arrived as the sixth former Manx Trident. Trident 313 is now in the paint shop, but is expected to emerge as the first of a small number of all-over advert buses replacing advertising capacity lost on the tram fleet.