August 2021: News from the Mayor Marvin Rees
Transforming transport in Bristol
Bristol needs a transformative approach to transport. For decades, the city’s political leadership took a patch and mend approach to transport, leaving us ill-equipped to meet the growing challenges we face as a city. A population that will grow by 100,000 by 2050, an ecological crisis that demands greener and more sustainable travel options, our moral and legal responsibility to improve Bristol’s air quality.
Bristol's status in 2021 as the only Core City without a mass transit system is unsustainable, we as a city need to evolve to meet our transport challenges. With that in mind, I was pleased to announce the appointment of our Cabinet Member for Transport: Don Alexander. His appointment will give us renewed leadership on the development of transport in Bristol. Transport represents more than just movement, it's about connection. Connection of deprived areas to opportunities, connection of vulnerable people to services, connection of the public to the needs of the environment and, as Councillor Alexander has pointed out, connection to one another.
Councillor for Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston, Don is a bus-rider and understands the importance of a reliable, fast, and sustainable bus network. He is prepared to focus on reinvigorating the bus services to remind the public of their value and to reduce car dependency, and on advancing the improvements to buses that we have begun during the past five years. Before Covid we were the only city in England outside London where bus passenger numbers were rising. We have a cleaner bus fleet, with investment of more than £30 million since 2015 delivering 142 buses (including 99 biogas buses) in Bristol that meet the highest emission standards. The Bristol Bus Deal has invited all operators in Bristol to help improve their peak hour services and started with the doubling of frequency of First Bus’s number 2 route. By investing in infrastructure to support sustainable options, we make buses a realistic alternative. Going forward, Don will be working with the One City Transport Groups as well as First Bus and Network Rail on the delivery of walking and cycling upgrades, more park and ride sites and the Joint Local Transport Plan.
Don’s cabinet role will also involve managing the relationship between the big-picture transport goals and the everyday local issues. This means that Don also steps up to manage the long term items in our manifesto that will leave a lasting legacy, including the mass transit plan, while maintaining a commitment to the green infrastructure within which these pledges need to be delivered. The mass transit plan for Bristol is about unlocking jobs and opportunities for communities across the city, as well as helping us meet the demands of our growing population. By increasing the use of public transport, we can build a case for investment in a low carbon, reliable transport network which will help Bristol meet its 2030 net zero goals. Councillor Alexander’s appointment represents an active step towards Bristol becoming a greener, more connected, more equal city. I welcome his contribution to cabinet and to city life.