Why can't Bristol have trams?

Manchester has them, Nottingham has them and Birmingham has got in on the act too, so why can’t Bristol have trams?

It seems like we’re the poor relation when it comes to transport systems, and whilst other cities press ahead with slick, attractive trams for mass movement of their citizens Bristol is being left behind.

People like them, they prefer them to buses, because they’re cleaner, more reliable, and they simply appeal to the modern commuter.

But scouring recent reports online, there’s a lot of discussion about missed opportunities, having to cross council boundaries, and basically too much procrastination by the different Government quangos set up over the years to address the problem of transport for Bristol.

A report in the Bristol Post last month talks of “a woeful lack of joined up thinking when it comes to sorting out our traffic congestion”.

Avon County Council; the four unitary bodies of Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Banes and North Somerset; the Bristol Development Corporation of the 1980’s; the Regional Development Agency; the ‘Supertram’ project from Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire council; the Bus Rapid Transit scheme and the West of England Partnership; they’ve all had a go.

And they’ve all failed to stop the problem of congestion in and around Bristol.

And today’s Mayor, George Ferguson says that though plans for a tram system are not dead, they have faded to almost insignificance. And his suggestion is that it can only happen if funded by businesses in the region through parking charges for their employees.

Meanwhile, for anyone trying to run their business using the roads of Bristol, the struggle goes on.

We know the short cuts, we know the best routes across and out of the city, but we can’t help wondering just how wonderful it would be if trams took the strain on some of the major routes.

Bristol’s green credentials would surely get a shot in the arm if we could only get our act together.

We can but dream!