On Thursday 17th October around 30 protestors gathered outside Leeds Civic Hall to lobby councillors on the planning committee who were meeting to the discuss the proposed Trolleybus schemes for North and South Leeds.
Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
Whilst Metro (West Yorkshire transport authority) and Leeds City Council have dressed this scheme up as ‘New Generation Transport’ and an investment in Green public transport, the reality is somewhat different. The scheme will cost £250m, of which Leeds City Council will have to find £77m (presumably by further cuts to already savaged public services in the city).
The bulk of spending will be on road building and alterations including cutting down over 400 mature trees, demolishing houses & shops, removal of cycle lanes. This would only lead to there being around 20 trolleybuses, whilst existing services (no1 & 6 buses) serving a similar route will be cut by half, whilst the trolley bus will have less stops than current buses and trolleybus fares will now cost more to help make up a shortfall in funding for the scheme.
All this will save only a few minutes on the journey time into town from Holt Park, whilst those on the route will in all likelihood see a reduced public transport service as a result. The trolleybus will also have priority at junctions which will mean more standing time for other road users and increased emissions, as even Metro have admitted.
Instead of this white elephant scheme, Metro and Leeds City Council should be bringing public transport back into public ownership, with cheap fares and investment into alternatives such a hybrid buses to create a quality public transport service for all the city which would also reduce emissions by offering a reliable and affordable alternative to cars and other private transport.
Please visit the Stop the Trolleybus website for more info about the campaign.