A660 Joint Council chairman Doug Kemp led a deputation to Leeds Civic Hall on Wednesday afternoon to ask the gathered councillors to scrap the trolleybus scheme. After he finished an excellent speech, he was given an enthusiastic and long round of applause from supporters in the packed public gallery, many of whom had given up their lunch hours to attend.
The meeting will take place in the Civic Hall, Rooms 6/7, from 10.00am – 12.00pm, Saturday May 11th. It will be chaired by the Rev. Joanna Pearson, Associate Rector, St George’s, and Priest in Charge, St Augustine’s Wrangthorn. After a brief introduction from Cllrs James & Richard Lewis, there will be a Q & A session for members of the public to ask anything they like. There will be no officers present, unless they so wish as private citizens.
12 councillors vote 11:1 criticising NGT
This committee consists of 12 Leeds City councillors representing the wards of Otley and Yeadon, Horsforth, Adel and Wharfedale, Guiseley and Rawdon. It includes Ryk Downes, an Otley and Yeadon councillor. He is a former chairman of Metro and Liberal Democrats leader on the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority. The Committee agreed to hold a debate on NGT on the above date. Members of Metro were there to answer questions and matters arisng from the discussion from questions.
Members of the public were invited to give representations. Residents from Holt Park stated they were against the NGT trolleybus. John Dickinson of Weetwood Residents Association gave a very good presentation. In addition a laminated sheet was given out to each of the sitting members as is shown below.
The response of the councillors was very interesting. They were sceptical and challenged the Metro report in many details with tenacity. They even challenged the business case, costs, consultation effectiveness, loss of bus service etc, predicted journey time and environmental impact.
Dave Haskins, NGT Project Director with another member of NGT tried to answer each point raised in detail. I was impressed by the questioning of Dave Haskins replies. The group of councillors was well-informed. The councillors were even more critical and eventually passed the motion (the wording might be different a little):
The vote was 11 for and 1 against. The councillors requested that this decision and the minutes be readied for the full council meeting in April and called the NGT team to return in September with clear answers to their questions.
Two important points from Dave Haskins (who was calm & professional throughout)
- He stated categorically that the NGT team had never labeled the scheme rapid transport and said it averaged 12mph.
- The consultation period with a web-based view of the layout will open in May through to September (perhaps longer)
The first presentation of this talk was given on the 27th February to a packed audience – “full to standing”. By popular demand this is a further opportunity to learn the facts about NGT and form a balanced opinion without the sales pitch.
Since 2008, the National Transit Database of the Federal Transit Administration has included extremely detailed urban passenger transport accident statistics.1
The table below has been produced using data extracted from the National Transit Database: Safety and Security Time Series Data. 2
National Transit Database: Safety & Security Time Series Data
| YEAR||VEHICLE MILES |
|Motor Bus||Trolleybus||Motor Bus||Trolleybus||Motor Bus||Trolleybus|
The table shows that whereas on average between 2008 and 2013, trolleybuses travelled 0.60% of the urban vehicle miles travelled by all buses, they accounted for 1.32% of the injuries to cyclists, and 2.20% of the injuries to pedestrians.
This means that a trolleybus is twice as likely as a motor bus to injure a cyclist, and three and a half times as likely as a motor bus to injure a pedestrian.
The following graph illustrates the much higher trolleybus injury rate.
Of the 571 trolleybuses currently operating in the United States (APTA 2012),3 just 119 or 20% are articulated vehicles, which suggests that some factor other than the length of the vehicle is responsible for the significantly higher injury rate of trolleybuses. A possible explanation for the higher injury rate is supplied by Barry J Simpson in Urban Public Transport Today (1994)4
“They are also much quieter than buses, which may be a blessing environmentally but can be a hazard to pedestrians, especially the blind, cyclists and others who may detect a bus coming from behind by sound rather than sight, hence their unfortunate nickname, ‘whispering death’.”
As well as being known as ‘Whispering Death’ in Australia, trolleybuses were known as ‘Silent Death’ and ‘Granny Killers’ in the UK.
A drop-in is to be held at City of Leeds School on Tuesday 22nd January 2013 from 5.30 to 7.30pm.
Those attending will be able to see detailed plans showing the proposed route, and put questions to members of the NGT team.
Map showing the location of City of Leeds School