I have to agree with Martin Phillips’ recent comments about First Bus (fares and quality). The main problem seems to be that unlike other cities, First Bus face very little competition in Leeds.
Our 64 service (half hourly/hourly) has probably been top of the unreliability chart for many years. Recent long-awaited changes have made the service a little better. However, it remains expensive – £2.10 for a ten-minute journey, £4.20 return.
Recently, I had four journeys to make, so bought a £4.60 day ticket to save on cost. One of the local buses failed to appear, so after being stood in a downpour for 20 minutes, resorted to a taxi. My total travel bill for the day then came to over £10 so I was several pounds out of pocket.
Apart from the cost, one of the regular practices we all find unacceptable is the running of buses past stops showing ‘Not in service’ when they are behind schedule. Not much of a worry for those who have a bus every few minutes, but when you only have a half-hourly or an hourly service, it is no joke.
This has happened to most of us and one lady had the hourly Sunday bus go past her – First’s response was simply that “it was running late”.
These buses often then go back into service further along the route where people have the choice of a number of services. Doesn’t common sense say you should firstly pick up the passengers with a limited service and only if necessary then miss out some of the stops where customers have a choice of several regular services into Leeds.
When you have a combination of high prices and unreliability, there is little wonder customers are continually seeking alternatives.
Carol A Gannon, Barwick in Elmet
Dangers of driving in fog
WITH REFERENCE to the ‘pile up’ of over 100 vehicles in Kent on a foggy day.
When will the motorists of today ever learn that a foggy day can be a ‘killer day’? With so many vehicles involved this time it’s been a very lucky injury day. They have to get it into their stupid heads that saving a few minutes on either a long journey or a short journey is not worth even a damaged bumper.
I would like to make two points for motorists in general, particularly on foggy days.
1. Foggy days are now very rare since in my working day when coal was used all over Britain and caused massive, even smelly fogs. So thick that when we had trams in Leeds the conductor used to walk in front of the tram so that the driver wouldn’t have an accident and managed to take people home after a day’s work.
2. In my driving days when I was on the road in my job, I used to drive 25/30,000 miles per year. Lots of it before motorways and on motorways. The one thing I learned on foggy days was how to keep out of trouble, even though the volume of traffic was less than it is today. How?
I forced myself on foggy days to only be able to see a visible red light in front and not just a vehicle. This gives anyone today plenty of stopping space and at a speed needed to keep safe.
On top of that I would switch on the hazard light which would ensure anyone behind was aware of danger. I appreciate it could be called illegal, but it was safe.
If anyone wanted to overtake that was their problem. For me the saving of a small amount of time should not be a problem for any driver today. The Highway Code only gives a yardage. In fog it’s nowhere near enough, no matter what quality of brakes on the vehicle.
D Birch, Smithy Lane, Cookridge
‘Big Brother’ rules on hols
regarding THE latest decree from deputy leader of Leeds City Council, Judith Blake, on banning parents from taking their kids on holiday outside school term times, it would appear that Labour are now – instead of basing their policies on George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm – using one of his other works, 1984, ie ‘Big Brother’ or in this case sister.
But as a professional committee person herself, ie one who confesses to having no income except from the public purse, as a councillor and any other handy associated sinceure, she is obviously unaware that some parents cannot guarantee to get time off in the school holidays.
In the real world of work, often a mystery to many Labour politicians, some employers simply cannot allow too many key workers to take holidays at the same time, so they have to be staggered, which means either taking them in term time or doing without a holiday altogether – is that what Ms Blake wants?
DS Boyes, Rodley Lane, Leeds 13
The insurance industry rip-off
IT BECOMES ever more obvious that neither the government nor establishments such as the Offices of Fair Trading and trade descriptions, supposedly there to help and protect the interests of customers in trade and advertising, seem unwilling to help those who have an unavoidable obligation to insure their vehicles, who are being ripped off unmercifully by an out of control and unregulated industry.
Yet they recently investigated the affairs of some supermarket or another with regards to the way they fixed food prices on hardly significant sums, and subsequently issued large fines.
The motoring pages of a Sunday newspaper commented on the rapidly reduced value of a vehicle once it has left the showroom, during which time over the first year it is possible to receive in return another new vehicle in case of a write-off.
After which, by the time another few years have elapsed, its value will only be a quarter to a third of the original cost and insurers will then only pay out on market value.
Fair enough one may say, but while accepting the sense in this, how is it that as the value decreases, premiums don’t also reduce in proportion to the lower valuation.
JD Smith (fed-up driver), Belle Isle, Leeds 10
Using a broker for insurance
In reply to E A Lundy’s letter on car insurance (YEP, September 12). I have always used a broker for my insurance of all kinds, house and car. I’ve used the same firm for years [Greens at Scarborough]. They trawl through your requests and find a company to suit your needs. I’m 71 and never use the actual company unless I make a claim. Problem solved!
Howard Tegerdine, East Scar, Flamborough
Plea over RAF West Beckham
I am researching the former RAF West Beckham in Norfolk and would like to talk to any former personnel who served here or family members.
Mike Digby, tel 01263 824069, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Trolleybus’s French lessons
Another trolleybus disaster, which NGT has been very quiet about is the Caen ‘Tramway sur pneus’ (tram on tyres), which – introduced in 2002 – is really a guided trolleybus in all but name. It has been an expensive unmitigated failure, and just as Nancy decided to abandon its similar ‘scalextric-type’ vehicles in favour of natural gas powered buses, so Caen is all set to replace its equivalent with a proper tram system in 2018.
Why will our council not do its homework properly and learn from what has happened elsewhere, and thus avoid unnecessary and harmful disruption and expense similar to that experienced in these French towns?
There are clearly better alternatives to anything resembling a trolleybus.
Christopher Todd, by email