EUROPEAN cities with long-established trolleybus systems that have been recently trying out electric buses include Arnhem, Budapest, Geneva and Salzburg.
This does not mean that they will stop buying new trolleybuses overnight.
For the time being, they obviously have to keep what they have up to date, but their interest in the eventual use of electric buses reflects a widespread dislike of overhead wires and a desire to enjoy the versatility of ordinary buses.
Not having a trolleybus system already in place, Leeds should be given time to make the right ecological choice.
The few entirely new European trolleybus systems can hardly be quoted as examples to follow here.
Only two are in larger towns.
In Rome (where for much of the time the vehicles turn into electric buses without either overhead wires or special lanes) the plan to expand the system has become embroiled in political and legal wrangles and accusations of corruption.
That of Castellón de la Plana in Spain is a symbol of how Spain overstretched itself before 2008.
The system is run at a loss and is to be heavily subsidized by the local regional authorities up to 2027.
Towns in Britain trying out hydrogen fuel cell or electric buses – with the notable presence of the Leeds firm of Optare – include Aberdeen, Coventry, Derby, London, Milton Keynes, Nottingham and York.
The irony is that the Government’s Green Bus Fund set up in 2009 has so far only provided some £87 million to subsidise such schemes, a paltry sum when compared to that set aside for one single trolleybus line in Leeds.
Christopher Todd, Leeds