As a retired public sector programme manager I have sat shaking my head for some years over the continuing farce that is the proposed trolleybus system.
Leeds is a big city with a big transport problem which requires a big solution.
If central government aren’t willing to fund the right solution we do ourselves no favours pushing forward with the booby prize trolleybus which has a laughable business case, will not yield significant (if any) benefit and will only succeed in putting us back at the bottom of the Westminster begging list.
Entire organisations grow up around these proposals, staffed with people who grow ever more insular and detached from reality.
If the right solution is not available it is simply irresponsible to press on with a second rate alternative doomed to fail.
Yet despite the lack of support from almost everyone with expertise in transportation this is exactly what they’ve done.
The career prospects of a lot of people depend on delivering the trolleybus and this fosters a blinkered culture of corporate Stockholm Syndrome which in turn builds misguided momentum it is difficult to put the brakes on.
The trolleybus is a solution alright, just not one which is well-matched to our problem.
Leeds City Council revels in persecuting car drivers, yet it gives them no realistic alternative.
They know this all too well which is how they get away with treating motorists the way they do, charging for everything they can possibly think of, fining them for the slightest transgression and engaging in what appears to be the anti-competitive shuttering of those who dare to provide realistically priced parking, all done under the extremely tenuous umbrella of “planning regulations”.
Strange how those regulations seem to vanish into thin air when the subject matter is council-buzzword compliant.
Cars are comfortable, convenient, warm and most of all provide the fastest door-to-door experience for the vast majority of people.
The eventual solution has to provide good coverage, it has to be fast, it has to be clean, it must constitute a minimal detriment to quality of life when compared to a car, and it must be unimpeded by other forms of transport.
One need only look at what the Chinese are doing in Chengdu in retrofitting an underground system to a large city, based very much on the model used in Hong Kong which was largely of British design.
The solution will be expensive and it will take time. I think few know what the real solution is, but let’s start with those best placed to point us in the right direction instead of those with no expertise in the field or those with vested interests.
One thing I do know is the first step; put a bullet in the trolleybus sooner rather than later.
Gary Masterson, Cookridge
Cheaper prices at the market
COUNCIL leader Keith Wakefield is quoted as saying: ‘Poverty is the most important challenge our city is facing....we are taking dramatic steps to tackle it.’
And so I hope the good councillor will take note of the following.
The other day, in Kirkgate Market, I purchased three punnets of raspberries for £1; all in excellent condition; and not end-of-day.
And this was the indoor market, they may well have been even cheaper in the outdoor.
Today, in Sainsbury’s in the Headrow, I looked at prices: one punnet of raspberries for £2.
This is an apt measure of the importance of Kirkgate Market (both indoor and outdoor).
It’s a reminder that it should be defended and preserved so that it continues to serve its present function for those (amongst so many others) in our city who desperately need it. It should not be handed over to the profit-squeezing developers and fancy boy money makers.
Mike Harwood, Kirkstall
Housing 260,00 immigrants
WHEN politicians voice their concern at the lack of house building, it would be helpful if the public could be made aware of the financial contributions made by the major UK house builders to the political parties.
It would also be interesting to research the number of houses required to house the 260,000 immigrants entering this country each year. If we are unable to provide homes for people born in the UK then perhaps is it time to consider a three-year ban on immigration from outside the EU.
John Fisher, Harrogate
Immigration is the top issue
IMMIGRATION is the number one issue that will dominate politics right up to the general election and beyond, now that Ukip have forced the main parties to at least confront the issue head on.
But the party who dares not to face the issue is Labour, as it’s not in their comfort zone.
Way back, it was Gordon Brown who sneered at the lady from, of all places, Rochdale, as a bigot when she mentioned immigration.
Now, cringing Miliband dared not to mention it at his conference.
The myth that immigration is not an issue for Labour has been shattered.
It is in Labour’s heartlands that ordinary people have endured mass immigration, and have now deserted Labour in droves. Labour’s metro elites are out of touch.
Miliband is the typical champagne socialist, never grafted in his life, and has nothing in common with the grassroots – a Labour toff on a par with the Tory toffs on the front bench, but at least Cameron is true to his class.
A Miliband government will not grant the British people their referendum, no dumping of the notorious Human Rights Act, or renegotiate our open borders with Brussels.
Labour are still the party of mass immigration. Why? Because immigrants are but one part of Labour’s client vote.
Brian Johnston, Burmantofts
Let’s get back to straight talking
PETER Dawson’s letter (YEP, October 11) regarding York hospital requiring a new chair, as the existing chair is leaving, illustrates exactly the stupidity (with which many people will agree) of political correctness.
What is wrong with saying chairman or chairwoman if the sex of the person is known? If not, what is wrong with chairperson? One presumes this office is usually occupied by a human being.
No-one ever thought that the word mankind referred exclusively to the male sex. What’s going to be next? Manholes? Manpower? Manchester?
Common sense seems to have gone out of the window with the introduction of political correctness.
Let’s have some straight talking back, which everyone understands.
K Smith, Guiseley
Dirty money in the ATMs
AM I the only one who thinks that the bank notes you get out of the ATM are filthy?
When I get my pension out of our local one they are always very dirty. I hate paying for my shopping with them.
The banks used to take them in when they got too dirty, but they don’t seem to do that now. Maybe we should get plastic money. It might be a lot clearer.
Margaret Matheson, Holt Park