Why trams are likely the only practical solution to Bath’s congestion

The above old Bath trams has wheels closer together than a bus and can therefore negotiate a tighter turning circle, Modern very long trams can have the same close spacing.  Moreover trams always take the same course so can pass through narrower gaps than buses which can wander. This route fixity is also less intimidating to pedestrians.


This car is now reversing up having met the tram (click on the image to see the video).  These 70 year old Lisbon trams negotiate steeper hills and narrower streets than Bath.


Why trams are likely the only practical solution to Bath’s congestion (evidence = https://bathtrams.uk)

Bus-only systems have curbed congestion and pollution in no British city because car drivers and schoolchildren parents will not accept cramped jerky unreliable, long wait buses (patronage declining at 1.5% for many years) as an alternative. (Any congested British city demonstrates this). Runcorn was built around the bus in the 1960s but usage is now down to around 5% – the same as in Bath. Utrecht which has no parking in the city and is bus-only is re-installing trams – even triple bendy buses cannot cope.

Evidence repeatedly shows that car drivers will however accept gently running  & smooth, spacious (children and other users not crammed next to strangers) street running trams/light rail and a sufficient number of car drivers have transferred in all 7 British tram  re-installs to significantly ease congestion.

The long-term (capital repayment and operational cost) of a tram per person km is about half that of a bus; one driver cost is shared over more passengers, is no engine or tyres to maintain and they last 40 years or more

Low operating costs trams can run at 6 min intervals 0600 to 2400 – “turn up and go”, no waiting, high reliability = ideal for school children where the school run creates about 1/3 of rush hour congestion. The average 3 min wait between trams means that even cross-town, two tram trips are attractive for motorists and school children. Buses tend to be 20 – 30 minutes or longer 0600 to 2400. Children can walk around in the free space.

Trams produce no pollution, electric cars & buses produce pollution from the toxic tyre particulates, brake dusts and ground up road tar, so  the majority of London pollution is NOT from the exhaust

France operates 57 tram lines in 33 cities all re-built in the last 30 years  these do indeed increase footfall and spend in town centres in the pleasant environment they create.  46 Tram Systems Installed in Europe since 2000. 265 active tram systems in Europe. Modern tram track can be installed without major traffic disturbance

There are 27 tram systems in Unesco World heritage cities, about 140 tram systems in Europe about the same length envisaged for Bath. Modern trams do not require overhead wires. All hills in Bath are accessible to trams. Trams have a tighter turning circle, are narrower than bendy buses, and can pass closer together. Bath’s heritage was based on trams from 1890 to 1939; Bath visitors complain about traffic but visitors to Vienna and other trammed cities never complain about overhead wires but praise the trams and lack of traffic

Green Wave Traffic Light Pre-emption permits trams to move through traffic faster than other vehicles even with on-street running and this cannot be applied to buses – the website explains this apparent paradox

Values of commercial property always increase near tram stops and encourage serviceable development alongside – their inflexibility is an advantage as it signals to developers that they are here for the long term

Many European cities have trams trundling through pedestrian zones and this is very acceptable to shoppers, who happily accept their presence – including dining alongside the tracks.

The carrying capacity of a single road with cars is typically about 1000/hour, 9,000 with buses but 40,000 for trams

Research shows that Uber cars and Amazon vans are already slowing traffic down and self-driving Ubers and vans cars will only make matters far, far worse due to their cheapness and resultant ubiquity

Trams can carry many HGV goods into town on off-peak vehicles as per many continental trams

Preston is re-installing trams along with many other smaller UK cities, Preston using private capital which Bathtrams is considering

tyningroad@mail.com to be kept updated