Robert Hampton

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21st October 2013

Bus Pain

A great piece on the great SevenStreets blog, about Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson’s boneheaded decision to scrap bus lanes:

Liverpool is making it just that little bit more difficult for us to use public transport – at a time when study after study shows bus lanes to be a catalyst for urban regeneration, we’re shoving things into reverse…

Read the whole thing, which makes the case for buses (and public transport in general) very well.

My own observations: some of the bus lanes seemed a bit illogical and poorly signed (the one along Lime Street between the Adelphi Hotel and the station always seemed to catch drivers out), but most of them did seem to work to help buses beat congestion. Getting rid of all of them en masse, without any proper study or consultation, is madness. It’s quiet this week due to it being half term, but I dread to think what will happen next week.

I’m more thankful than ever that I live near a Merseyrail station.

26th January 2012


Liverpool could have an elected mayor by May this year, if certain news reports turn out to be accurate.

The mayor would not be as powerful as London’s (for example, Liverpool’s mayor would lack the sweeping powers over transport and policing enjoyed by Boris Johnson) but would be in overall charge of the city’s day-to-day running. In theory, there would be less beauracracy and more accountability.

It all sounds great, until you see the terrifying list of potential candidates identified by the Liverpool Echo. After sensible people like current council leader Joe Anderson and LibDem councillor Paula Keaveney, we get Ricky Tomlinson and – yikes – Phil Redmond (“Being mayor is a bit like a Scouse wedding”). I don’t know why they didn’t throw in Jimmy Corkhill and Harry Enfield in a curly wig for good measure. Perhaps Ken Dodd could take over; his zero-rate tax policy would be popular (at least, until voters realised it only applied to him).

Hopefully we will get someone rational, not a celebrity candidate or the next Derek Hatton. We could hardly fare worse than Doncaster, who elected the English Democrat candidate Peter Davies in 2009. His valuable contributions to civic life have included “stopping political correctness” and saying that Britain could learn from Taliban family values.