Wardens' free travel to clear bus routes
Council parking wardens are to be allowed to travel for free on the buses to help them get to problem areas faster.
The concession by operator First is a piece of enlightened self-interest as its services can be held up by badly-parked cars.
The arrangement between it and Bath and North East Somerset Council will not only save the local authority money in transport costs for its parking officers, but will also help them to deal with problems affecting punctuality and reliability.
First business manager in the city Richard Lewis said: "Inconsiderate parking is a real problem for us, and it also has a knock-on effect on the rest of the city too. Where motorists park in inappropriate places – perhaps leaving the car on double yellow lines while they pop to the shops, or parking opposite another vehicle on a road making it impossible for a large vehicle to pass – it can have a real impact on our services.
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"It can delay them and cause unnecessary congestion which then holds everyone else in the city up. Our customers get frustrated waiting for buses that are late, and may miss appointments because their journeys have been affected. We know of many occasions where our buses have struggled to get through residential streets because motorists have parked on both sides reducing the space available for us to pass.
"While some people may not think that is an issue if it only affects buses, the reality is that if our buses can't pass, then an emergency vehicle probably wouldn't be able to either. Ultimately inconsiderate parking is a problem that needs to be tackled for the benefit of everyone in and around the city."
Council cabinet member for transport Councillor Roger Symonds (Lib Dem, Combe Down) said: "This is just one example of how co-operation between the council and First to improve bus services for local people is operating. Inconsiderate parking is a real issue in Bath and can cause problems for local residents and businesses."
The parking wardens will have to be on duty and in uniform to get free travel.