AFTER 20 years of planning, the controversial £91 million Luton Dunstable
Busway has been officially opened by Transport Minister Norman Baker.
At a special ceremony held this morning (Tuesday), the minister cut a ribbon
on the 4.8-mile concrete guideway and unveiled a plaque at the new Luton Station
bus-rail passenger interchange.
Mr Baker also conducted a ceremony to mark the start of on-line works for the
£24 million Luton Town Centre Transport Scheme that will see long-awaited
completion of the inner ring road together with additional improvements for
motorists, pedestrians and cyclists in the town centre.
The government has supported both major local infrastructure projects, with
£80.3 million awarded for the Luton Dunstable Busway in March 2010 and £15.8
million provided for the Town Centre Transport Scheme.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Baker said: “There is no doubt that our town
centres benefit from investment in the bus, which is the backbone of public
transport and sustainable transport generally.
“This is the way forward. Congratulations to those who have had the foresight
to develop this scheme which will halve journey times with its frequent
“This area is currently undergoing a major rejuvenation and it will now have
a much improved public transport system to match.
“With the launch of the Town Centre Transport Scheme and the opening of the
Busway, this is a real great day for Luton.”
It is hoped that the controversial Busway, will enable fast, frequent and
reliable services to link Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Toddington with Luton
town centre and on to Luton Airport.
Together with the priority buses receive at junctions, the separation of
buses and normal traffic ensures that services can bypass congestion ‘hotspots’
and deliver the shortest journey times for the passengers.
Before the ribbon cutting in Luton, councillor Dave Taylor said: “This is a
very special day. The Luton Dunstable Busway is a monumetal project, and will
provide fast frequent and reliable journeys.
“I am delighted that Arriva, Grant Palmer and Centrebus have shown their
commitment to this project and will be providing their services.
“The completition of the Busway is instrumental to growth and wider
regeneration of the area.Existing bus users will get to where they want to go
quicker and car drivers can break free from the queues.”
Central Bedfordshire councillor Nigel Young added: “I can’t believe we are
here after all of these years.
“By joining up residential areas with connections to employment education,
health and leisure facilities the busway offers an unrivalled oppurtunity to
change peoples’ travel habits.”
SEE ALSO THE LATEST ON THE FOCUS FLICKR SITE
The first set of images by the Focus Transport team from the Showbus event are now here