It seems the public transport situation in Leeds and its environs is in a state of flux.
We have people asking for a more integrated and modern system, another group saying the trolleybus system is marvellous, and politicians and providers saying we cannot have this or that.
What we can say is that forward thinking and planning regarding public transport has not been at the forefront of any council or government departments over the last few decades.
The essence of public transport in this area is preliminarily controlled by the PTE (Metro )and it is their job to ensure that a service is provided. The quality of that service is what is under question and the answer to the level of quality provided is to be seen in the fall in the number of passenger journeys. This can be attributed to either lack of provision or cost of fares.
Do we then look to a solution that will solve these issues or do we let the situation resolve itself? If we do nothing it is obvious the usage of cars will increase to further stagnate the already overloaded traffic system.
In the short term, investment is needed to provide more suburban stations with adequate parking facilities and more carriages on the trains. The long-term provision has to be a system that can be supplemented, when necessary, by the addition of routes, stations etc. The underground tram/train system would be the ideal solution as this would not cause surface congestion (except during construction), but the cost of any significant system is said to be prohibitive and it frightens politicians (Wasn’t the same said of the Channel Tunnel?).
Surely the whole purpose of any system has to be the future benefits in the long term and we should discard the short-sightedness of any that fails to provide these.
The technology and equipment that is available and always developing will be able to provide the means, it is the wherewithal that is the problem, but if we as a city – metropolitan area – wish to maintain our position as a leading functionary in the UK then we have to push forward with vision not dark glasses.
D Angood, Stanningley, Pudsey