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Birmingham turns its back on carbon reduction

On the very day the Chancellor announced what he described as ‘the world’s first carbon budget, with a commitment to reduce emissions by 34% on 1990 levels by 2020, Birmingham City Council finally decided to consign its Tyburn Road bus lanes to the dustbin.

Tyburn Road’s bus lanes were central to a major bus priority corridor in the city, intended to offer a fast and efficient public transport alternative for local travel into the city. Bus operator Travel West Midlands committed to a new fleet of articulated buses for the route, which also had new stops and real time information systems, which tell passengers how many minutes they have to wait for the bus. However roadworks on the M6 meant that the bus lanes were closed ‘temporarily’ to cope with car traffic volumes. That was five years ago and they have never reopened. Last night Birmingham City Council announced the closure would be permanent and a start will be made on removing the green tarmac.

Further bus priority measures in the West Midlands, part of a scheme to improve bus travel around Solihull and the NEC, are also intended to be suspended when car traffic for the NEC is heavy: the very time when the bus lanes are actually needed.

Phil Tonks, BUS USERS UK’s operations officer, who is based in the West Midlands, said that the closure would send out the message to the public that the City didn’t believe in tackling traffic congestion effectively.

‘Everyone knows that Birmingham certainly isn’t unique in having its problems with traffic congestion. However, the City Council has yet again shown that it doesn’t have serious, effective measures to tackle this problem. Bus lanes on their own aren’t the answer, but an effective transport strategy is, and public transport should be central to any strategy. The message being sent here is that it is OK to carry on driving into the City, adding to the gridlock. Bus passengers using services along Tyburn Road now have a poorer service, and that is hardly going to entice them to use public transport in the City.’

BUS USERS UK External Affairs Officer Stephen Morris added: ‘It’s all very well the Government having targets to reduce carbon emissions, but unless real action is taken to enable people to make the choice to use modes of transport that will enable them to reduce their carbon footprint, they are totally meaningless. There is still, after all these years, a culture of “the car is King” in this country and politicians are afraid to back measures that can reduce our car dependency. Without proper bus priority measures, bus services can never deliver reliability and journey times that will make them an attractive proposition to people with their own transport.’

For further information please contact:

Stephen Morris
External Affairs Officer
Tel: 01932 232574

Phil Tonks
Operations Officer for England, Bus Users UK
Tel 01384 273267,
07860 721554

Notes for editors:

BUS USERS UK is a non-statutory body established as the National Federation of Bus Users in 1985 to give bus passengers a voice in the liberalisation and privatisation of bus services outside London.

Its aims are:

• To strengthen the voice of bus users in the discussion of public transport issues
• To increase the influence of bus passengers on local and national decisions affecting bus services
• To develop good communication between bus companies and their passengers

Its membership comprises mainly bus passengers, although its work has been recognised by the industry such that it also has representation in most major bus companies (outside London) and local authorities.

It is a partner in the Bus Appeals Body, set up to help passengers where legitimate complaints about bus services have not been resolved satisfactorily, and organises Bus Users Surgeries in town centres throughout Britain to enable bus passengers to voice their concerns directly to bus company managers.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Bus Users UK in the following categories: Environment & Nature, Motoring, Travel, Transport & Logistics, for more information visit