Tackling jams means being serious about park-and-ride
Of course it can do her and her administration no harm to be seen to be responding quickly to drivers’ frustrations over queues that have built up since the road layout was altered because of the new park-and-ride scheme.
Cllr Jones has announced her intention to remove the bus lane between Havisham Road and Church Street at the end of the M275 and open it to all traffic because of complaints that the area has become more congested.
The theory is that drivers coming from both the M275 and Rudmore roundabout will then get more time to get into the correct lane before reaching the Church Street roundabout.
But it seems the company which runs the park and ride buses was not in on this change. First Group has told The News it will be making a strong case to keep the bus lane as it is.
General manager Dervla McKay says prioritising public transport is an essential part of making bus travel a viable, greener option.
She’s right. Because if the park-and-ride bus journey time ends up being longer, where is the incentive for people to use the service?
Motorists who’ve found themselves being delayed by the bus lane will probably be gnashing their teeth at this point. All they want is to get to where they’re going without being held up.
But there is a bigger issue at stake here. If Portsmouth is serious about tackling jams, it has to be prepared to back measures such as park-and-ride.
It’s no use building this facility if people are then put off using it because priority lanes are taken away and the time advantage of using the bus is reduced.
But judging by Cllr Jones’s comments, it’s plain to see her sympathies lie with the motorist.
When the change to the lane comes in, we expect close monitoring of the time taken by both buses and cars to negotiate that stretch of road. Only then can we see if Cllr Jones’s actions are justified, or a retrograde step.
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