Letter: Trolleybus won’t make public transport better

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I understand that the Director of the Civic Trust is in favour of the proposed trolleybus because he believes that improved public transport will boost the local economy.

Unfortunately, the scheme on offer hardly qualifies as improvement in public transport. The decision to have separate stops for the trolleybuses and the buses means that users will have to choose between the two systems and, whichever one they choose, the frequency will be about half what it is now – leading, on average, to much longer waiting times.

Those who choose the trolleybus will generally have to walk further to their stop (because there are fewer of them) and are likely to have to stand (because there will be far fewer seats). Although the trolleybuses will suffer less delay than the existing buses, I think it is wrong to imagine that the overall public transport offer will be better than it is now.

Many would think it worse and that it in no way justifies the loss of environmental amenity inherent in the proposed scheme.

If the available budget was appropriately focussed, a real improvement in public transport could be achieved but the introduction of a trolleybus system to run in parallel with the buses is a step away from the truly integrated public transport system which we need. Some aspects of the proposals are to be welcomed but others appear short sighted and deleterious.

Peter Bonsall, Emeritus Professor of Transport Planning at the University of Leeds