There is no doubt that the proposed Trolleybus scheme in Leeds will be controversial as it is modern, unique, innovative and will inevitably, like any major infrastructure scheme, cause some disruption whilst it is being developed.
I have explained why I believe the project is a good thing for the city region here, and I posed the question to opponents ‘what would offer a better solution?’
This week another business organisation, alongside a local MP, criticised Trolleybus, and argued that there were other ways in which Leeds could tackle its increasing congestion problem.
I read on with bated breath hoping to find the new transport panacea option that had been presented as a practical alternative – only to have my hopes dashed when realising that ‘more buses and more park & ride schemes’ was the non-solution being offered.
Whether we like it or not, buses and park & rides are not seen as an attractive proposition by many people in the twenty first century.
Lack of security, cleanliness, poor reliability and standing in the rain, sleet and snow waiting for one are good reasons why many folk see buses as an antiquated, unattractive mode of transport.
The de-regulation of the industry back in the eighties certainly hasn’t helped, and many of the fleet that you see trundling around, often dirty , tired looking and empty, don’t fill you with the enthusiasm and confidence to hop onto one at the next opportunity.
Likewise, there are more white elephant ‘park & ride’ schemes throughout the country than you can shake a stick at. They cost fortunes and few of them deliver.
For me, any alternative to Trolleybus has to be more modern, more advanced, with an eye to the future; not a cry to go back to the past and attempt to make out that those modes of transport and transport initiatives that have failed us dismally since the huge rise in popularity of the motor car can somehow be the answer.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. More buses and park & ride schemes? You may as well let Manchester have the money for its next tram development.