Letter: Spending £250m... to save three minutes

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Leeds City Council recently agreed to make up the shortfall in the funding for the NGT trolleybus scheme by contributing £19 million from its capital fund.

This means that money that could have been used to keep open sheltered housing, care homes and community centres, will be spent instead on purchasing 20 trolleybuses to be used on a single route.

This is just one of many reasons the trolleys have been dubbed “Folly Buses”. Here are some more. At a total cost of £250 million, NGT will simply be bendybuses running on already congested roads, adding to the existing congestion and undoubtedly disrupting the existing bus system yet being of little use for shorter journeys or for the elderly or disabled because of the distances between stops.

It is also extremely short sighted to even consider electric buses tied to overhead wires now that electric buses not tied to overhead wires are increasingly available and are running in other more forward-thinking cities.

Metro plan to run the trolleybuses across the grounds of St Joseph’s Primary School and through the Whitfields pedestrianised housing estate in Hunslet. North Leeds would suffer too, with trolleybuses running across Woodhouse Moor and through five conservation areas. Grass verges, mature trees, houses, shops, gardens and cycle lanes would be lost.

The trolleybus scheme is the biggest threat to our environment since the demolitions of the 1960s.

Is all the destruction really worth it for a scheme which Metro has admitted is unlikely to reduce congestion, and which may even make worse? And is a saving of just three minutes on the journey time from the city centre to Holt Park really worth an expenditure of £250 million?

Janet A Bailey, Ash Grove, Leeds