Others think Runcorn Busway is a success:

On Mon, 20 Jan 2020 at 15:25, <rob.mccaffery@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

Please put it under my name. I do not publish anonymously since I have belief in the honesty of my comments and my intentions.


Just to give a wider perspective I am and always have been a tramway fan first and foremost, but that does not blind me to its limitations. The modern light rail has its place, but only in the right locations where traffic flows generate enough revenue to pay off the colossal construction costs and where the local political will and finance is there. There are great light rail systems such as Manchester, Nottingham and Croydon while there are les well-judged schenes such as South Yorkshire (excessive street running), West Midlands (wrong initial route, and twenty years taken to penetrate Birmingham), and Edinburgh (disastrous cost control, plus abandonment of a key section of route plus one route being totally insufficient.


Bristol should have had light rail. It’s crying out for it. The same with Liverpool if you overcome the appalling street network between the old reservations and city centre. Smaller locations are pipe dreams under our political and legislative system. Systems can be built in far smaller communities abroad where subsidy is not an evil. Wasteful deregulated competition and the half-baked notion that a transport service should be a profit rather than cost centre plus our ridiculous planning system rule it out in all but the larger conurbations.


Be glad that Runcorn was not built as a light railway. There would not have been the money or political will to maintain it against the onslaught of abuse and vandalism. It would have dragged down the name of light rail in the same was as the incompetence in Edinburgh will have a long-term cost.


From: dave andrews <tyningroad@gmail.com>
Sent: 20 January 2020 14:53
To: rob.mccaffery@blueyonder.co.uk; <expertsfortrams@googlegroups.com> <expertsfortrams@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: Runcorn busway


Many thanks for your email, might I put this (anonymous if you like) onto our website for balance, as what we have there at the moment is not very positive?


Please send a picture!


Best Wishes



Dave Andrews



00 44 (0)7795 842295





On Mon, 20 Jan 2020 at 14:43, <rob.mccaffery@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

Hello Dave. I don’t have official figures but I have visited family in Runcorn regularly for over fifty years and have observed the town route network during that time. The am of the Busway was for every home in the new town to be a short walk from a Busway stop. This was achieved and the complete network built. The out of town bus routes use the Busway along with the dedicated town routes. It is the principal bus corridor through the town with a highly intensive service around the new town loop. Runcorn is not a wealthy town and by observation bus usage has always been heavy, and certainly no failure.


There has always been disappointment that it was not built as light rail, and indeed could easily have been constructed that way. Of course the out of town bus routes would have had to take unsuitable minor roads in the New Town or use the near-motorway expressways. Aside from the Busway the New Town roads are not suitable nor were designed for buses.


I have noticed a desire amongst light rail proponents to declare the Busway a failure. I wonder how many have ever visited.


The Old Town is a different case. Here the Busway adds as a support to the mature town network and short sections in the town centre have been abandoned with buses returning to roads more logical for their use. We are talking half a mile at most. A new bus station replaces the old linear ‘station’ on the Busway..


I could accept the argument that it was a failure if it were generally abandoned and buses were running with observably small loads. It is not.


It does suffer from serious abuse in the New Town however with serious vandalism and track trespass by pedestrians and cars. Construction as a tramway might have avoided the car abuse but I would put nothing past the local lawless motorists. Several crashes at road/Busway junctions have occurred over the years, almost all caused by cars ignoring red lights. The Busway was blamed.


Despite the hopes of many that the Busway would be a failure since it wasn’t built as a light railway it is the predominant public transport mode in Runcorn despite the regeneration of the Old Town causing short sections to be closed.


As ever, people will see what they choose or need to see. I’d suggest that the critics visit with open eyes rather than wishful thinking. I’d recommend keeping the camera out of sight over several parts of the network. I was threatened by the public several times while preparing that report. Liverpool’s problem families were dumped on a small Cheshire canal town, with distressing results and appalling social problems in the New Town. The light rail system would not have been immune.


Theory and reality do not always coincide.


I would expect the car/public transport split to be slightly lower than the national average but any failure of public transport to dominate is down to matters far wider than whether the Busway should have been built as a tramway. Even with the New Town Runcorn is a pretty small town and well below the traffic levels that justify the expense of Light Rail.



From: dave andrews <tyningroad@gmail.com>
Sent: 20 January 2020 11:49
To: rob.mccaffery@blueyonder.co.uk
Subject: Runcorn busway


Hi Rob,


Let me first confess that I am a tram geek so biased.


I had been told by experts that the Busway was not a success and not a significant part of the transport mix in Runcorn, so found your article very interesting.


Do you have access to any figures on the actual split between bus user and car users?


Best wishes


Dave Andrews