By Ian Onions, Political Editor
A report by council experts and consultants says it would not be as good as the bendybus scheme, which is already on the table.
Members of the consortium who are promoting the tram met with cabinet councillor Tim Kent and council officials yesterday.
Afterwards, consortium chairman James Skinner said he was extremely disappointed that hopes of a tram appeared to be over.
He is furious that talks have been held since November but participants were now being told there was no time to switch from a rapid bus scheme to trams.
He said: “I feel bitter about this but more important, the people of Bristol are going to be saddled with a system which is not as good as the trams.”
Pip Sheard from the pressure group, Trams for Bristol, said: “They are saying it’s too late to switch but it is never too late to change if it’s the right thing to do.”
Councillor Kent said the report showed the trams would not carry as many passengers as a rapid bus scheme and would be just as costly to build. He said the rapid buses could be up and running by 2015, whereas the trams would not be operating before 2018.
He said he would be putting the report on the trams before an all-party working group on transport, which meets in two weeks’ time.
At the moment, it is council policy to support the bendybuses but if the transport working group urges a switch in policy to the trams, then he would ask officers to prepare a report for a council cabinet meeting in July.
The trams would have run from Ashton Meadow near the Cumberland Basin to the new M Shed museum and later extended to Bristol Temple Meads.