A PUBLIC transport expert has insisted there is no chance a new system aimed at reducing car traffic into Colchester will be anything other than a glorified bus service.

Essex County Council’s cabinet has agreed to move forward with plans for a link road between the A120 and the A133, and a new rapid transit system which will link up a proposed new town on the Colchester and Tendring border, Essex University and Colchester town centre.

At the meeting, councillor Chris Pond asked council leader David Finch to give assurances the system would be attractive for people and said a “half-baked bus express” would not be sufficient.

He called for something pollution free, electric-led and rail-guided to change people’s behaviour.

Mr Finch said the council’s highways department had done extensive studies on systems in place in the UK and Ireland and technology was moving quickly.

He added: “To nail ourselves to a particular method or process or indeed vehicle type at the moment would not be the best thing to do.”

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But Peter Kay, from the Colchester Bus Users’ Support Group, insists a decision has already been made, citing a council funding application which said the system would use “bus technology” but with the effectiveness of trams, and a letter from planning inspector Roger Clews, which said buses would be used for the foreseeable future.

Mr Kay said: “To suggest it will be anything other than a bus is wrong - the decision has been made.

“You can look into the future and make crazy predictions, but you have no way of proving they will be true.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “At this point the decision being made is around further development of the possible routes, to create an option that enables people to access key parts of Colchester, so meaning they do no need to bring their cars into the town.

“Central to the success of any rapid transit is the route, the ability to segregate from other traffic, frequency and cost. All of these will be considered as the proposals develop.

“The type of transport will ultimately be determined by the technology available in the coming years and while clearly cost and engineering feasibility means something road-based rather than rail-based is more practical in the short term, we want to explore sustainable technologies and also be mindful of creating a system which can evolve over time.”