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Luton guided bus advert 'misled public'

NEWS

A LOCAL AUTHORITY was last week found to have misled the public in an advertising campaign promoting a proposed guided bus project.

The Advertising Standards Authority last week upheld three complaints about a campaign run by Luton Borough Council for its Translink guided bus link between Luton and Dunstable. It threw out two other complaints.

The two page advertisement that appeared in three regional newspapers in February 2001 claimed the £60M, 15km guided bus network was a much better option than a rail link.

But the ASA said claims that the scheme would slow traffic growth were unproven. Another claim that similar systems would be built in other UK cities was also misleading, said the ASA. Guided bus systems in Fareham and Northampton were proposals only and might not go ahead, it said.

Statements that liquid petroleum gas powered buses were less environmentally damaging than electric trains were also unproven, said the ASA.

But claims that the guided bus system was a better option than a rail link because no rail operator wanted to run services between Luton and Dunstable were considered justified by the ASA.

The ASA also said that Luton's claim that the system would serve 100,000 people while the train alternative would only serve 10,000 was also reasonable.

Luton Borough Council this week said: 'We are delighted the ASA has upheld that Translink will serve far more people than rail and that no rail company is interested in running a LutonDunstable train service.'

The government is considering Luton's business case for the project which is expected to start in 2005.

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