I WAS amazed when I heard that the government had agreed to the trolleybus project because it does not appear to have been thoroughly thought through and I find it alarming that £57m could be given by Metro towards the cost.
Is this the reason why subsidies for existing transport are being cut? I fear the trolleybus project will be a loser for the following reasons:
1) Disruption in the city centre while the wires are erected.
2) Nobody has been able to tell me what would happen to buses in the city centre. It does not appear to be possible to run existing services if the trolleybuses were to go along The Headrow, Park Road and Boar Lane. If we were to lose our through buses and had to walk across Leeds with heavy shopping, Leeds would cease to be an attractive shopping centre.
Motorists would drive to the out-0f-town shopping centres because they will not be prepared to pay parking fees and those of us who haven’t got cars will be left high and dry.
3) It is true that other cities have trams but Leeds doesn’t have wide roads like Sheffield and Manchester. Neither does it have a disused railway track like London which has been converted to a tram train route between Wimbledon and West Croydon.
4) It is past its sell-by date because the university has closed Bodington Hall which used to house 1,000 students and they are moving out of Headingley into purpose-built accommodation near the university. They will be able to walk to the Arena.
5) We are told that it will create 4,000 jobs. Will these be jobs for local people, and will there be sufficient people either trained or with an aptitude for this type of work? Or will they be imported from eastern Europe? It could cause more problems than it solves.
Railway stations at Kirkstall, Apperley Bridge and a second Horsforth station would be more useful or an underground tram/train route from Guiseley to Leeds Bradford Airport serving both cities rather than waiting 20 years for a rail link from Horsforth.
Anybody who wants the tram or trolleybus should take a trip to Edinburgh to see what can go wrong. Politicians who think that NGT may be a fitting memorial to their service to the city could find that it turns into their political tombstone.
P Johnson (Miss), Leeds 11