Sunday, 8 August 2010

BusWay - A Question over Contracts

My MP, Andrew Selous, is apparently upset that Luton Borough Council won't give him contract details of the contract between them and BAM to build a £90 million busway between Luton and Houghton Regis.

If foul play is suspected over the timing of the signing of contracts, then I think Andrew Selous is right to pursue the issue. If the purpose is to get the contract cancelled in the hope that money saved will be directly shifted to constructing the A5-M1 link road, then I think the hope is naive.

Given that the busway construction has been funded, and is scheduled to be completed in 2012, I think we should accept it as a fait accompli. So, we should concentrate on doing what we can to promote the benefits of the scheme.

It will certainly be of use to people living in Houghton Regis, either directly, by improving journey times (and a smoother ride), or indirectly, by reducing congestion between Houghton Regis and other destinations during peak times.

The busway will, for the first time, be able to potentially offer Houghton Regis a direct bus service to Luton Airport.

I have FOI evidence from Luton Borough Council that 125,000 potential passengers will live within a 400m walk of one of the 250 bus stops that will be upgraded and will be served by a bus that will use the busway for some or all of their journey.

I accept that for many types of drivers it will be difficult for them to be persuaded to use the bus, but those extra that do, will reduce the travel times experienced by all users during present peak times.

But, I still need to be convinced that the bus operators are doing enough to understand the journeys that people currently make. I am sure they will want to maximise their passenger numbers and make their businesses succeed, and will undertake the necessary research to make that possible.
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