Letter: We’re better off without NGT plan

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COUN Richard Lewis says he has read with interest the debate going on the letters page (YEP November 26).

Maybe it is causing panic because an awful lot of people seem to be able to see straight through the scheme, and through both the council and Metro, to what it actually means, not what the council and NGT say it means.

I don’t want to be included is his “all” who share the huge frustration over the slow progress of Supertram and then New Generation Transport.

I don’t mind being included in the large and growing number who are hugely frustrated about his talking down the possibility of an underground system and not mentioning the improvement that lower bus fares (and possibly free travel to under 18s, over 60s, unemployed and those in full time education) would make to congestion.

He says scrapping the NGT scheme would throw away government funding but surely it’s better not to have funding for something whose detriments far outweigh its only plus (a 3-4 minute improvement in journey times for out of town commuters, largely gained by having only a few bus stops along the route – not handy for the elderly or disabled).

This is at the expense of mature trees, shops central to local communities, cycle lanes, stone cottages, private gardens, Victorian stone walls, fields in the Shire Oak Road Conservation Area and a small inner city park.

If, as he says, Leeds is working with the other West Yorkshire councils and Metro on a £1 billion transport fund as part of the City Deal, why don’t they put forward a transport scheme that’s worthy of investment and that will get people out of their cars and onto public transport.

Finally he seems to be saying (if I understand correctly) that an underground system “would actually improve the lives of a relatively small number of citizens”, meaning that NGT would improve the lives of a larger number.

I would argue an underground system would improve the lives of the same number of citizens that the NGT scheme is aimed at (out of town commuters) and improve it far more than NGT would because journey times would then be significantly shorter.

At the same time it wouldn’t be making life more difficult for the communities along the A660 corridor and inner city Leeds, who will also have to deal with increased ‘rat-running’ due to congestion for motorists who haven’t been persuaded on to the trolleybuses.

D Jones, Ash Grove, Headingley