Trams for Bristol and Bath?

Could the answer to traffic congestion in the Bristol and Bath areas be trams or light rail? It’s a question which has been asked many a time over the past few years and now with the West of England Combined Authority looking at a mass transit project a local campaign group the Bath and Bristol Area Trams Association (BBATA) have been involved in discussions which should see tram proposals “taken seriously” as part of this project.

Currently the West of England mass transit project makes no commitment to any modes of transport but says it is “an ambitious, fast new transport system that will revolutionise the way we move people around the West of England, dramatically improving congestion and air quality while reducing our carbon emissions.”

Fast, frequent and reliable services would be offered as part of the project and it could include over or underground routes, with the potential for several different types of transport to be included – which could possibly include tram or light rail – linking in to existing rail and bus services.

In a recent press release the BBATA say that the Combined Authority are considering a tram or light rail network based on 4 lines:

Line 1 – along the route of the A4 from Temple Meads to Bath

Line 2 – To North Bristol and South Gloucester

Line 3 – Between Bristol Airport and Bristol Temple Meads

Line 4 – Into Est Bristol

Chair of the BBATA, David Andrews, said: “We have conclusively demonstrated that only a tram/light-rail system can deliver a low carbon, low pollution economic regeneration of our towns and cities. This has already been found to be the case in eight other UK cities, with trams/light-rail at the heart of the systems integrated with feeder buses for rural areas and lightly trafficked routes”.

The project is still at a very early stage and it is planned that there will a public consultation in summer 2021 to discuss further possibilities for improving transport in the area. Both Bath and Bristol city centres are renowned for severe congestion and a major project is needed to try and solve this with trams or light rail a relatively popular option with some in the area. Its not the first trams have been mentioned for the region so whether these plans will get off the ground remains to be seen – but there does seem to be some traction this time that it could be the time for trams to return.

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