Luton-Dunstable Busway tracks ‘not flexible enough’- study

Luton-Dunstable Busway
Luton-Dunstable Busway

Guided busways like the one stretching from Luton to Dunstable are not flexible enough to cope with the demands of congestion, transport experts have warned.

In a report published on Tuesday by the Institute of Economic Affairs, transport experts Paul Withrington and Dr Richard Wellings claim that replacing rail tracks with express busways could provide a “viable alternative” to overcrowded train services.

However the study rejects guided busways, which “lack flexibility” and “cost several times higher than conversion into a conventional highway”.

Speaking to the Herald & Post, Dr Wellings said that Luton Borough Council would have been better off creating an unguided busway which could double up as a toll road.

He said: “We looked at guided busways and we were very sceptical about the model as you end up with excess capacity...it is a complete waste.

“It would be better served having something that could be used by other vehicles.

He added: “You wouldn’t want it free at point of use but it could run HGVs and a small amount of cars on a premium service.”

Luton Borough Council has countered Mr Wellings’ recommendations.

A spokesperson said: “Since the late 1980s, teams of independent transport experts were commissioned to develop proposals for a local transport solution to the growing traffic and congestion problems in and around Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis.

“Of all the possibilities, including trains, light rail and conventional buses, the Luton Dunstable Busway option was found to provide the most effective solution to this area’s particular issues.”