Yellow Buses warns of impending gridlock

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Managing Director, Andrew Smith, highlights that commuters in the Bournemouth conurbation are spending an extra working week per year in traffic jams

Andrew Smith said the company was considering a Voluntary Qualifying Agreement which could prevent unnecessary numbers of buses
contributing to the congestion

Roads across the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch conurbation will grind to a complete standstill unless urgent action is taken to tackle congestion, Yellow Buses has claimed.

Andrew Smith, Managing Director of Yellow Buses, said traffic levels had increased significantly over the last decade and particularly in the last few years.

He added: “We have got a really serious and growing problem which is having a huge effect on everyone living and working in the area.

“It is no exaggeration to say that unless we start taking some urgent decisive and sustainable action soon, then the whole conurbation will quite literally grind to a halt.

“We all need to work together to address an increasing obstruction to improving our quality of life. There is no magic bullet but other towns and cities are addressing the problem urgently and we need to do the same.”

Figures issued by Yellow Buses, and based on average speed data produced by the Department for Transport (DfT), reveal that car users on a return journey between Bournemouth and Poole spend nearly 10 extra minutes every day stuck in traffic. This represents a 25% increase in journey time in the last decade, equivalent to an extra working week a year sitting in traffic purely as the result of congestion.

Andrew continued: “The congestion can be down to a number of factors, from the increased use of cars to the growing number of roadworks.

“We fully support the Echo’s campaign to raise the profile of the growing traffic problem and to challenge the local community to come up with sustainable solutions that are inclusive and practical.”

Andrew conceded that the number of buses operating between Poole and Bournemouth by Yellow Buses and Go South Coast – up to 24 per hour – contributed to road congestion.

“However, one full bus is equivalent to 20 cars off the road so, with better coordination in the longer term, we are definitely part of the solution,” he said.

Yellow Buses is supporting an initiative by Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole to establish a Voluntary Qualifying Agreement (VQA) with the bus companies. This would coordinate services, implement realistic joint ticketing and reduce bus numbers where the two operators both run services.

It is thought a VQA could reduce the overall number of buses travelling between Poole and Bournemouth by approximately eight per hour, while still providing a regular, coordinated high-frequency service.

Andrew said: “A VQA would make a contribution to reducing congestion between Bournemouth and Poole. It is a grown-up, 21st century contribution to solving a problem which must be tackled. We look forward to working with all parties to do everything possible to make this happen.”