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16 March 2010, 05:00
Central Bedfordshire council have gained the support of South Bed Friends of the Earth for the Luton-Dunstable Busway as part of a package of transport improvements in Dunstable for bus information, cycling and access to the L&D.
South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth have historically opposed the guided busway as they believe a light rail or tram solution would be far more effective.
However they are aware that plans for this railway do not exist in any of the forward plans for the railways for the next twenty years.
They say the transport problems in Dunstable are seriously affecting business, shops and employment. The shortage of safe cycling routes and of bus information, let alone buses in some areas, means that many people do not have an alternative to using the car within Dunstable, and those without cars can suffer severe problems especially young people wishing to access skills training. There are also serious issues with parking at the L&D.
Therefore they have been telling Heart that they have come to the decision that it is "crucial to work with cCntral Bedfordshire to gain improvements now to public transport and cycling rather than wait for something in the future even if it is not the solution that they have campaigned for."
Coordinator of the group, Victoria Harvey has been telling Heart:
"The transport situation in Dunstable is urgent, and we need improvements now.
"I am worried that we could wait for years for a railway, so following discussions with our new Central Bedfordshire council we will support the Busway as part of a package of measures to improve transport in the town.
"Central Bedfordshire have committed to bus and cycling improvements this year and the Busway will provide the opportunity for a whole network of buses from Leighton Buzzard, Houghton Regis, and north of Luton and Dunstable to join the Busway and have a direct congestion free route into Luton and to Luton railways station and will seriously reduce journey time."
"It will increase access to Central Bedfordshire College which is really important for young people Therefore we support this scheme and are very keen to work with Central Bedfordshire to maximise its benefit for the whole urban area."
We want to know what you think. Is the Busway a good or bad idea? Is £89 million funding justifiable, or do you think it could be better spent elsewhere? Leave your comments below......
"The busway will not help - it follows existing routes and no longer goes as far as Luton train station and the airport (only via the normal road route). It does not go near the hospital as suggested and to provide service information at bus stops would cost alot less than £89m and would not cut through at Site of Special Scientific Interest! The scheme refers to surveys carried out 10 and 15 years ago - things have changed since then - Vauxhall is no longer a big employer and it wont help airport workers. Central Beds are only now supporting this scheme because they were backed into a corner when Government gave LBC go ahead without them. Also non bus users have no idea of the cost of fares - £3.90 return Houghton Regis to Luton. It will not ease traffic in Dunstable as what causes this is accidents on the M1 and heavy vehicles cutting across the county - what we need, as Andrew Selous has stated, is the Bypass which seems to be under review due to finance - there are thousands of projects which will not be such a White Elephant that the £89m could be constructively spent on." Joanne Bowes