Bristol's clever thinking

October 27, 2011 3:44 PM

Clever thinking at Bristol City Council as they propose replacing two costly night bus services with a shared-taxi scheme. Instead of catching night buses to Avonmouth and Henbury after midnight, Bristol residents will be able to share a taxi ride from the same bus stop for a flat £4 fare. This will serve the dual purpose of cutting £50,000 in bus subsidies and providing a much-needed boost to the city’s hard-pressed taxi drivers.

‘This will be something good that we can do for the taxi trade in Bristol,’ said a Bristol councillor. ‘It should save the taxpayers a bit of money and actually provide a better service to the public as well—if it works this will be a good all round win.’ The six-month trial measure has been welcomed by Bristol’s taxi drivers and goes before the council’s cabinet for approval tonight.

In contrast, in Somerset, Taunton Deane Borough Council seem to have been undone by their own environmental projects to cut the amount of cars entering Taunton’s town centre. Thanks to spending million of taxpayers’ money on a second park-and-ride scheme to the east of the town, parking fee revenues have dramatically fallen by £600,000. It hasn’t helped either that they have also spent more money turning the Castle Green car park into a public square and green space.

Having spent all this taxpayers money discouraging cars, the council now wants to make up this shortfall in revenue by charging Taunton’s taxpayers even more to park on their own streets by increasing the cost of short-term parking—just the sort parking that is aimed at shoppers—and introducing Sunday parking fees. Local traders are up in arms about this further blow to their businesses. It seems that some car-hating councillors just can’t do without the money drivers bring in…

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