Salford is finally to get a new bus route to Salford Quays – home of MediaCityUK and The Lowry. But the £382,076 share of £1.7million Government `Kickstart' funding is not being spent on helping the communities of Broughton and Kersal get access to `Manchester's Historic Waterfront' (as MediaCityUK likes to call itself), it's going to be a shuttle bus from Salford Crescent train station, well used by students and professionals.
Meanwhile, the communities of Broughton and Kersal, who remain totally unconnected to MediaCityUK and Salford Quays, will be encouraged to set up their own cycle rickshaw operations to transport them to any potential job or leisure opportunities.
A high level Salford City Council report, seen by the Salford Star, dated 1st March 2010, featuring feedback from a meeting on `transport connectivity' in February, states that councillors "reiterated the poor links from the wider area to MediaCity by bus; it is impossible to get from Broughton for example to the Quays and thus makes it very difficult for residents to take advantage of employment or leisure opportunities".
The idea of water buses and water taxis was ruled out as they would be "limited at the moment by the locks" but the concept of `cycle rickshaws' was raised. The minutes from the meeting state "Could we integrate these into the transport system and encourage firms to set up?"
Residents of Broughton and Kersal have reacted with horror at the thought…
"Nothing surprises me, they must think we're in the Third World or something" says Lower Kersal bus user Mike Skeffington "They want us to have an 18th Century transport system in the 21st Century which they want us to set up ourselves. With the rain we'll get wet through – are they going to give us pacamacs and triangular hats as well?"
And Broughton bus user Guy Griffiths added "They don't give a toss about the real people – you can't get to the Quays at all by direct bus from around here. But it's nice to know that Salford Council got something out of that expensive trip to China a few years ago by John Merry and his cronies. It's typical – a world leading Media City with a Third World transport system. What next paddy fields in the flood plains of the Irwell to go with Salford's Chinese style censorship?"
Alice Searle, local election candidate for Kersal said "Local people are being left out again – the buses don't go to Salford Quays at all. The idea that we should set up rickshaw companies or ride rickshaws to Media City is a joke. We're very proud of our Victorian history in Kersal – now we're being pushed back to those times."
Meanwhile, Kersal Labour councillor Ann-Marie Humphries states on her current election leaflet… "The poor bus service in Kersal has to be addressed…We should no longer tolerate private bus companies exploiting passengers with high fares and not providing routes to where people can work, shop and relax."
Rickshaws appear to be Salford Council's answer…