Bristol’s mayor has announced a full feasibility study into a possible mass transit scheme in the city, part of which would run underground.
The planned line could connect the city's central railway station with its airport, as well as the north and east of the city, at a cost of approximately £2.5bn.
Giving a State of the City speech last week, mayor Marvin Rees said modal shift could reduce congestion but would not happen without viable alternatives and that Bristol remains ‘the only major city without a mass transit system’ - however Leeds, for one, has also struggled to deliver such a system.
Bristol mayor Marvin Rees
He said: ‘Metro Bus will help but is only part of the solution. Congestion remains one of our most serious problems. It hinders people movement, worsens air quality and weakens our economy. I previously announced we have commissioned a pre-feasibility study for underground with our partners in the West of England Authority, and I am pleased to say initial feedback is that ground conditions don’t look too problematic and that with the right level of investment, this project is perfectly buildable.
‘A mass transit scheme, that connects the northern fringe, the south and the east to the centre and connects the city rapidly to our growing airport and people to jobs, has the potential to be transformative for the city and region.
‘Accordingly, my city leader partners, Tim Warren in Bath and North East Somerset, Matthew Riddle in South Gloucestershire, Nigel Ashton in North Somerset and of course our metro mayor, Tim Bowles, for the combined authority, all recognise the generational opportunity this presents and will support the full feasibility study being commissioned this month.’
Mr Rees also announced that a bid has been submitted with regional partners to the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund to try to bring £100m to Temple Meads railway station to unlock additional housing and that contactless payments will be operational on the city’s First Bus fleet, starting in January 2018.
He also appeared to announce something similar to Cones Hotline of the 1990's Major Government. He said: 'We will tackle the frustration of idle roadworks and improve on road information, providing the opportunity for citizens to report inactive scenes.'
The Cones Hotline was described by the BBC as 'probably the most ridiculed policy ever to be introduced by a British government', although whether it could work on a local level remains to be seen.