Conservative councillors are calling upon Bath and North East Somerset Council to do more to keep Bath moving during the busy festive period.
Conservatives have said that lessons need to be learnt from the traffic and transport chaos experienced in the city over recent weeks and are demanding that the Council begin work on producing a Christmas travel plan so that one can be put in place ready for next winter.
The calls come in the wake of mounting complaints from residents and visitors in Bath over serious delays on public transport and gridlock on local roads, particularly during the period of the Bath Christmas Market.
At the start of the month First Great Western had to put on additional trains in order to cope with the queues at Bath Spa station, where at one point passengers were stopped from entering due to overcrowding. Users of the city’s Park and Ride services have also complained of major delays and overcrowded buses, whilst car drivers have faced significant congestion on the roads in recent weeks.
Conservatives have raised concerns that if no action is taken to address the situation next year then visitors will be put off from coming to the city, damaging the local economy and hitting Christmas trade.
Conservative Shadow transport spokesman, Councillor Anthony Clarke (Lansdown), said:
“There’s no more picturesque city to be in than Bath at this time of year, and it’s great that so many people want to come here to enjoy the sights and do their Christmas shopping. But the Council must ensure our city doesn’t grind to a halt during the festive period.
“Over the past few weeks we have seen a perfect storm of transport problems hit the city, with problems on the trains, buses and roads. Serious questions have to be asked about why the Council and First were not better prepared for the volume of people coming to our city.
“It’s vital that lessons are learnt for future years. Residents have the right to be able to go about their daily business, and the Council must get a grip of these issues.
“B&NES needs to produce a proper Christmas travel plan for Bath to ensure the city keeps moving during this busy period, especially when the Christmas Market is on. This should include working with bus and train operators to lay on additional services, as well as better coach park provision and a proper traffic management plan.
“If the Council doesn’t take action, the danger is visitors will be put off from coming back in future years. A Christmas travel plan must also go hand in hand with an overarching transport strategy for the city and wider area.”