Bus firm: 'We must act now on gridlock in Hull's Ferensway'
A BUS company has ramped-up calls for measures to reduce congestion in Hull city centre.
Graham Renshaw, assistant operations manager at Stagecoach, admits punctuality often suffers due to traffic hold-ups in Ferensway.
And he believes the only way of solving the long-standing problem, which he says is getting worse, is to press ahead with plans for the £168m upgrade of Mytongate junction.
Mr Renshaw said: "Ferensway is extremely busy and it seems to be getting worse.
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"It is an arterial route into the city and buses are always getting stuck in queues.
"Plans for the Mytongate junction upgrade are vital if we are to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and use the city's buses."
Councillor Martin Mancey, Hull City Council's portfolio holder for environment and transport, said recent talks on the scheme with the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin went well.
However, the scheme hinges on the outcome of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review, which is expected later this year.
Cllr Mancey said: "I can't see any significant improvement to the traffic-flow issue in Ferensway and the surrounding area before this upgrade."
The Mytongate improvement scheme proposes lowering Castle Street to allow traffic between Ferensway and the Marina to cross above.
"There seems to be strong support from the Secretary of State for this scheme," said Cllr Mancey. "It's possible work will start some time in 2016."
Mr Renshaw also expressed bus drivers' concerns about pedestrians who cross the road, which leads to the interchange, on a red light.
He said: "We are doing everything we can to make drivers aware of the issue.
"But people continue to cross on a red light, which is extremely dangerous."
Cllr Mancey said the local authority had looked at various ways of making the junction safer for pedestrians.
"We have introduced a countdown on the lights," he said. "It remains a worry that we have a situation regarding pedestrian safety in the middle of the city centre.
"But there is a limit as to what any local authority can do and people do have to take an element of responsibility for their own actions and that includes not crossing on a red light."
Last month, Cllr Mancey joined council colleagues and Peter Shipp, chairman and chief executive of EYMS Group, on a fact-finding trip to Nottingham, where bus priority measures have been installed in a bid to speed up traffic flow.
Nottingham City Council has been placed on key routes to catch motorists who use bus-only lanes.
Cllr Mancey said: "We have asked bus operators to identify problem areas.
"We will then decide a plan for Hull."