I have long been an admirer of the tram system in Montpellier, but the other day my wife and I had to take a taxi there from the airport to the railway station, and were held for some time in a long line of traffic at a red light while trams went by.
This added 5 euros on the taximeter and we missed our train.
However, this was a right-angled intersection and there were no buses present, while in Leeds it is planned to have buses, taxis and ordinary traffic running together parallel to the dedicated trolleybus lane and being frequently held up at lights.
In my experience of using rapid transport systems, I have nowhere seen one so clearly designed to disadvantage all other forms of public transport. This is not an integrated system.
By the way, following Recife in 2001, Lugano in 2002, Innsbruck in 2007, Bâle in 2008, Ghent and Edmonton in 2009 – without listing the many closures since 2001 in Arzebaijan, Bulgaria, China, Georgia, Kazakstan, Romania, Uzbekistan and even the trolleybus heartlands of Russia and the Ukraine – it is interesting to see that Vilnius in Lithuania is now progressively abandoning trolleybuses.
It will replace 40 trolleybuses with ordinary buses on September 1. A further 45 trolleybuses will be replaced shortly after that, leaving at that stage a total of 185 trolleybuses, compared to 225 in the autumn of 2012.
The director general of the local public transport board (Vilnaius Viesasis Transportas) is quoted as saying that ‘buses were faster than trolleybuses’.
They closed four trolley bus routes on July 1 (DELFI.lt, August 14, 2013).
So much for the trolleybus as a symbol of cutting-edge technology.
Christopher Todd, Leeds 6
Interpretations of language
I NOTE that Mr Bloom MEP has offered yet more explanations of why the phrase “Bongo Bongo Land” is not racist.
He has informed various TV breakfast programmes, for example, that the Bongo is a white antelope that lives in Africa. He has advised that people check in the dictionary (obviously thinking that nobody will actually bother). His argument, therefore, is that “Bongo Bongo Land” can’t be a racist remark.
Can I inform Mr Bloom, and his supporters who have written in defending his freedom of speech, that the Bongo is a brown antelope with fine white stripes down the sides. As anyone who has the Brooke Bond Book Of African Wild Life will know.
Don’t know where his dictionary is from but I trust Brooke Bond more than I trust Bloom MEP for information. What a foolish man.
T Maunder, by email
Stop showing Savile images
I EMAILED BBC Look North & Calendar to complain about them constantly showing those now tiresome and offensive images of Savile on the balcony of his flat and at Buckingham Palace every time there is another story about him.
The BBC (as usual, as always also happens on News Watch) completely misunderstood what I was saying and replied that they do, in fact, try and vary the footage they use.
Calendar didn’t reply. So, can I make a request via the YEP: please stop showing footage of this reprehensible person (who I always suspected was shady ever since I was a teenager in the 60’s) on the box every time you have a new story or revelation about him. It really puts me off my tea. And, no doubt, many others.
R Kimble, by email
Why should I move my home?
IN RESPONSE to the letter from A Shipman re bedroom tax, how dare he/her!
I’ve lived in my flat for 22 years and spent a lot of money on it and my garden, why should I move from the place I love! I suggest that families living in cramped conditions use birth control until they have housing suitable for a family.
Will A SHIPMAN be downsizing into his/her suggested options at 60 or is he/her already past that as his/her comments seem to suggest. At the end of the day you can’t help where you have lived and made your home.
Name and address supplied
Programme for new housing
I AM referring to your letter on Monday 19 August entitled ‘Create more council housing’.
The Council has developed a comprehensive response to the Government’s Welfare Changes to support all affected tenants.
The support has included awareness and advice to make sure tenants really understand how the changes will affect them; followed by practical rehousing options for individuals and families who are under-occupying their homes, including promoting mutual exchanges and transfer opportunities.
The loss of housing benefit for council tenants affected by the bedroom tax is almost £4m per year.
Funding for the management and maintenance of our 58,000 homes relies solely on rental income. Any reduction in that income will have a major impact on the Council’s ability to maintain and invest in housing or to build new affordable homes.
As a result a no eviction policy is very difficult to sustain. As we have said openly for months, the Council faces a real challenge with a shortage of available one-bedroom homes.
However, we have not been idle; we have already agreed to invest over £42m to create more council homes across the City and to continue to bring a large number of empty homes back into use.
This is the largest programme of its kind in many many years. Phase one of the programme will see over 100 new homes being built in three locations in the City starting early in 2014.
Coun Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, housing and support services
Disabled people unfairly treated
JUST what is going on at Leeds City Council many must wonder, as a disabled child is refused free travel to school; especially when it appears that taxpayers’ money is no object for other more privileged classes at the Civic Hall.
For only recently information was leaked to the press about some woman heading a mysterious private limited company called Leeds & Partners being paid over £3,000 a week wages, plus taking regular taxi rides at £300 a time from Leeds to her home in Berkshire – funded by £2m of our money, courtesy of controlling Labour group leader Coun Keith Wakefield.
Not only that, but car mileage payments being made to council staff @ 65p per mile are almost 50 per cent more than what is authorised by HM Revenue and Customs, wasting yet another £500,000.
It’s not rocket science to see that disabled children and other needy groups alike are being victimised by Labour councillors, which can only be described as a squalid disgrace.
The only answer they give in response is blame the Coalition Government cutbacks, which is nonsense, when the problem is one of Labour incompetence and total lack of business acumen, and no wonder the whole country’s finances were left in such a state after 13 years of such ineptitude. The Labour group in Leeds is clearly ignoring the will of the people, none of whom would ever discriminate against poor disabled children in this way.
DS BOYES, Rodley Lane, Leeds
SO KAREN JACKSON, head of a failing Health Trust, is set to have a salary higher than David Cameron – what! An increase of £25,000, and now to be £170,00. A handsome reward for failure. Oh, and the salary is average for such positions according to the ITV news.
Mavis Harrison, Saxton Gardens, Leeds