TRAFFIC congestion is so severe in Bournemouth and Poole that the average speed of a Yellow Bus at peak time is less than 10mph.

The issue has been highlighted as the Daily Echo prepares a week-long investigation into the hold-ups that blight the area’s roads.

Meanwhile, the timetabled length of a Morebus journey between Bournemouth and Poole town centres in the morning rush-hour has risen from 29 minutes to 40 minutes in just eight years.

Average speeds for its vehicles are 2mph slower than in 2011.

Although the average speed of buses is dragged down by frequent stops, they provide an indication of the growing congestion problem locally.

Cllr Mike Greene, Bournemouth council’s cabinet member for transport, said car use was not growing as fast as the area’s population, but some roads were already at capacity.

“Unless we find a way to do something about it – something really significant – it will be a bigger and bigger problem in and around Bournemouth,” he said.

“We’ve got people from around the country here and around the world. We’ve got a great place to live. We see no reason that will change. If you’ve got that sort of population growth, you will have a problem with congestion as long as people primarily are using the road,” he added.

Yellow Buses managing director David Squire also chairs Bournemouth and Poole Tourism Board’s transport sector group. He said congestion was one of the biggest issues the area needed to tackle.

“If we don’t, then potentially that then starts to hurt the tourism economy. If you drive down here from London because it’s a bank holiday and you can’t get near the town centre because your’e stuck in a traffic jam, you’re going to think ‘I’m not coming here again’,” he said.

The Echo has also found:

  • A light railway, not based around the existing stations, is a possibility, according to Cllr Greene.

  • Utility companies are responsible for the vast majority of roadworks locally. From April 2017 to March 2018, Bournemouth council was only behind 254 of the 3,600 sets of roadworks in its area.

  • Bosses at both bus companies back a “lane rental” scheme which would charge utility companies for digging up the roads, but councils are not convinced it would work.

  • Bournemouth plans a ‘congestion conference’ to discuss ways businesses can help ease the problem.

  • Transport links across the area could be improved by a bid for cash under the government’s Transforming Cities Fund.

What do you think would help improve the congestion problem ? Email with ‘Congestion’ in the subject line, or write to Newsdesk, Daily Echo, Richmond Hill, Bournemouth BH2 6HH.