Trams are not economic on rural routes – but by freeing up city roads, they cut the time and cost of rural buses thereby encouraging drivers to use them
Trams cannot compete on many minor routes, but buses can, and these smaller buses are aided by the tram removing traffic from the main roads that even the small buses want to use. Small buses can be used as feeders to tram stops particularly for the elderly and disabled.
There is no difficulty in aesthetically integrating trams into Bath in the city centre without overhead wires; the vehicles can run on batteries, or other means for this short stretch. It is worth noting that there are 26 World Heritage sites which have trams, including Vienna where the wires are attached to the Grand Opera House, and in fact on the continent tram and overhead wires are often viewed as part of the charm.
The two images here are from the tram system in Tours where trams run both with and without overhead wires for sections of the route.
Tram wires can hardly be seen outside the Guildhall. Note the cyclist – lower centre right
Proposed A46 – A36 Link Road
The A46 – A36 Link Road will not alone solve the congestion problems of Bath without comprehensive traffic management as per the continent. Whilst this much needed link road will remove much of the through traffic, hitherto suppressed car demand will rapidly fill the newly created road space unless countervailing traffic management measures are installed, leaving us pretty much where we were in terms of congestion. It is here that trams combined with traffic management can prevent the gains from the link road being rapidly lost.
Trams are not appropriate for a World Heritage City like Bath
We would turn this statement on its head and say;
“the extreme traffic congestion and air pollution in Bath is not acceptable or appropriate for a World Heritage City”
– so we should adopt solutions such as trams that have been proven in other Heritage Cities – such as Bath until 1939, and our twin town Braunsweig, to substantially reduce the level of the traffic and the pollution caused by it.
Here is a list of 26 World Heritage Sites that have trams:
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Moscow, Russian Federation
Prague, Czech Republic
St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
What about Edinburgh?
There have been a number of successful tram introductions in UK but the Edinburgh fiasco is well known. To summarize this was in large part brought about by placing persons with no engineering or transport experience in charge of the project (i.e. the ex-Head of Edinburgh Social Services), not following previously expert identified economic routes, and the use of unnecessarily complex contracts and which are designed to be readily adaptable to this sort of project; apparently teams of expensive London Lawyers were paid to create a bespoke contract that filled several ring binders and was consequently impossible to understand or administer which reportedly permitted the contractor to run rings round the City. Astonishingly in UK most of the recent tram networks have had higher legal costs than the entire engineering works
Also Edinburgh built a standard sleepered railway network (again against expert advice) requiring deep foundations and service diversions rather than modern alternatives.
These mistakes need not be repeated in Bath as there are wholly independent groups who are prepared to take on the entire design and risk. (Groups not connected in any way with the Bath Trams Group)
*(Instead of purchasing for £200 one of the several standard ¼ inch thick, engineering contracts such as FIDIC, I Chem E, JCT, IMechE, IEE MF/1-4, NEC etc all well known to engineers )
One Study reports that trams increase congestion