Letter: NGT fares should be in line with local bus fares

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I was certainly the one to be surprised by the statements attributed to me by your correspondent E Galilee (YEP, January 14).

When asked about the so-called £20m ‘funding gap’ for NGT, what I said was that we had anticipated this outcome and that finance raised through the projected operating profits from NGT is one means that could be used to meet the expected difference.

Borrowing against operating profit in this way is how cities such as Manchester and Nottingham have been able to finance the extension of their rapid transit networks.

Rather than being ‘dearer’ as E Galilee claims, it is envisaged that fares for quicker and more reliable journeys on NGT will be in line with local bus fares.

Like rapid transit systems in other cities, we are planning that NGT will be run, under a locally-managed franchise, by a single operator.

This will mean that we can ensure the system and fares remain viable thanks to the kind of regulated framework that people have told us they would like to see on local bus services.

In terms of the vehicles themselves, their technical specification will be key to the success of NGT and we will be embarking upon a market engagement exercise with companies interested in building the articulated, high capacity vehicles we need.

This means that, contrary to statements being made at present, no decisions have been made on vehicle manufacturers at this stage and local companies are not in any way ruled out from being involved in the project.

Councillor James Lewis, chairman, Metro