Facts Established at the Public Inquiry
These are just some of the facts established at the public inquiry:
- The proposed trolleybus route currently has the best bus service in Leeds.
- Whereas, the existing bus service reaches out as far as the suburbs of Adel, Cookridge and Tinshill, the trolleybus service would only reach as far as Holt Park. For the trolleybus service to be economically viable, the frequency of the existing bus service would need to be halved. This would result in a halving of public transport provision for the people Adel, Cookridge and Tinshill.
- The promoters branding strategy means that trolleybus stops have been designed for maximum visibility rather than to blend in with their settings. This would be detrimental to the appearance of the nine conservation areas through which the trolleybus route would pass.
- Because trolleybuses would be given priority at junctions, other traffic would be delayed. The promoters admit that this would increase congestion and CO2 emissions along the route. Originally they claimed that the scheme was a “congestion buster” and that it would reduce CO2 emissions.
- According to the Department for Transport, “The scheme is forecast to cause delays to general traffic leading to approximately £110M of disbenefits to highway users, with the vast majority of this affecting business travellers.” (Source: An internal Department for Transport slide presentation)
- Martin Farrington, the Leeds City Council’s Director of Development was unaware until the day before he gave evidence, that in 1999, an application for a trolleybus scheme in Liverpool was turned down by the then Secretary of State for Transport.
- In two votes in 2013, Labour councillors were whipped to vote for the trolleybus scheme.
- The user figures for the Bodington park and ride were calculated assuming people would drive a considerable distance north to catch a trolleybus that would take them south.
- The route has several areas of “Shared Space” where pedestrians would have priority, but the trolleybus run-time figures don’t take account of the much lower operating speeds necessary in Shared Space areas.
- There would be no express trolleybus service from the proposed park and rides at Bodington and Stourton because trolleybuses can’t overtake one another.
- There could never be more than 20 trolleybuses on the route because any more would cause unacceptable delays to other traffic.
- According to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, because less than half of the route (37%) would be segregated, the scheme should not be called “Bus Rapid Transit.” (the promoters repeatedly use this term to describe the scheme).
- A trolleybus system was chosen not because it would be the best system for Leeds, but because it would require a Transport and Works Act Order, which would give control of the system to Metro.
- The NGT business case assumes that other bus companies would not compete with the trolleybus.
- Metro abandoned plans for a trolleybus route in 1990 when a private bus operator announced plans to run a diesel bus service along the same route.
- There’s a shortage of open space in the inner city ward where it’s proposed that trolleybuses would run across the local park.
- There was never any opinion poll that established a public preference for trolleybuses.
- Two polls conducted by the Yorkshire Evening Post show that the vast majority of the thousands of readers who responded, consider the trolleybus scheme to be a bad idea.