Letter: Not saved by wires

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One of the many arguments against trolleybuses is that they require overhead wires which are ugly and which limit the use of the trolleybuses to routes that have wires. But according to Gary Stevenson, overhead wires actually give trolleybuses an advantage over other buses (YEP, September 17).

Mr Stevenson claims that wires “create a perceived permanence of service, assuring the public that the route will not be closed on a whim.”

Any “perceived permanence of service” would be illusory. Over 50 UK towns used to run trolleybus systems and every one of them has been scrapped, including one in Leeds in 1928. Hundreds of others around the world have also been scrapped. Overhead wires didn’t save any of them.

And why should a perceived sense of permanence encourage people to use trolleybuses? Boarding a bus isn’t the same as embarking on a relationship. And people don’t buy cars because they’re worried the bus service might be scrapped. People prefer cars to buses for all sorts of reasons, and the “perceived permanence of service” isn’t one of them.

Kim Cowell