17 April 2009

Manchester's bollards again

They've provided much mirth for thousands of YouTube viewers and have ensured a similar number of car and van drivers have been kept out of part of Manchester city centre, but the moving bollards there have made the news recently for the wrong reason.

An ambulance was responding to a 999 call earlier this week when it was denied access to the protected area of the city centre on Corporation Street after the transponder it was carrying failed to lower the bollards to permit it access. Crews dis-mounted the mobile device from its dock within the vehicle and waved it frantically at the obstruction but to no avail.

Witnesses then saw the frustrating sight of the ambulance crew having to drive round the block to the Cross Street bollards, to gain access to the Arndale Centre, only to find that they would not lower either.

Perhaps it would be a little premature to claim the bollards were simply not working, since eye-witnesses said that buses were able to lower and pass over both sets of bollards without any problems within minutes after the paramedics had run on foot into the shopping centre. It is more than likely the ambulance's transponder was faulty.

However, this type of incident does not play well with public opinion and with Manchester losing out on TIF money last year, the city is likely to see very few bus priorities - and any new schemes will not be as effective as bollards!

The ambulance could've just followed a city centre shuttle bus when its transponder lowered the bollards, but this can have devastating consequences.... (GL)