Bristol progress

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Following the decision to introduce a clean air zone in Bristol, Martin Curtis looks back at one of the city’s key bus routes and how it has changed over the decades

Bristol City Council, after many delays, appears to have agreed a date to introduce its Clean Air Zone (CAZ). The zone will take effect on 28 November. It will encompass the central city area and will include half of Park Street, the lower part of which will be covered by the restrictions. It will be a category D zone, the most restrictive of the four categories available, and apply to buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses and cars; the local authority also has the option to include motorcycles. As well as charging older, more polluting vehicles, the introduction of the CAZ also includes increased priority for buses, such as bus lanes and priority at traffic signals.

Prior to this announcement, at various times recently there have been questions about whether Park Street will remain a bus route, and indeed if the central area would allow various categories of vehicle. Bristol’s buses are almost entirely Euro VI diesel, bio-gas-powered or electric so comfortably meet air quality standards to run through the CAZ.

This scheme has been driven by Bristol’s elected mayor, Marvin Rees, who among other things has proposed studies into a Bristol Underground system. However, last May, there was a referendum for the people of Bristol, who decided they no longer wanted an elected mayor and the council will revert to be run by a committee system once his term ends in 2024. Bristol is also part of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and separately there is a WECA elected Mayor (Dan Norris) who has responsibility for transport. To add to the confusion, Bristol also retains a ceremonial Lord Mayor. Not surprisingly, many members of the public have difficulty grasping all this!

Park Street

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