A Listening Council

May 4, 2014

I have a lot of respect for how BathNES Council leaders handled the bus gate issue at Dorchester Street. In January the Council introduced a six months trial to introduce a dedicated bus lane to improve safety for passengers and pedestrians and make it easier for buses to keep to the timetable.

From March motorists ignoring the new restrictions were landed with a fine and an unprecedented number of people received the penalty, particularly people visiting the city. It became clear that there were real issues with the signage of the new scheme. A public outcry, a media campaign and a petition followed. Now the Council has decided to return to what was previously in place, refund people, who paid the penalty, and review the situation.

In politics (and indeed in other walks of life) nothing is more difficult than admitting to have made a mistake and to apologise. Yet mistakes are part of life and human interaction.

BathNES has demonstrated that they are a Listening Council. They understand that new measures are introduced to make life in the city better for residents and visitors not worse and that people have to be on board with change. There might be a few cynics who will think that this will make the Council look weak, but I think it is a mature way of dealing with what became an obvious problem. I wished more Councils were as responsive to their citizens as BathNES is.


One comment

  1. A shame that they have completely ignored very stron public feeling about the public conveniences issues and that disabled people lose out yet again.Already I am finding it much more difficult to cope with going out as much as before because of the closure of public conveniences that I needed to be able to use in various neighbourhoods and am disadvantaged further by there being no priority provsion for disabled people any more.It is very shortsighted when the population will contain a greater proportion of elderly and disabled people to remove such a basic amenity as public conveniences, meaning that more people will become more dependent and increasingly isolated from mainstream society. Very poor consultation over many issues which affect disabled people in BANES and disabled tourists too.We need a disability champion, to ensure that our needs are considered properly and not be treated less favourably than cyclists, for example, who have their own champion, but far more choices than we do about how we can get around.

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