I WONDER just what the detractors of the Leeds Trolleybus scheme hope to achieve with their Luddite tendencies, and ask if they can offer a viable alternative, because something is certainly needed to give Leeds a transport service to match its position as one of the leading commercial and cultural centres in the North of England. The current level of provision falls a long way short of what should be on offer to serve a city of its size and complexity and is an embarrassment when compared with what is seen elsewhere. A visit to Manchester will effectively illustrate the point.
Although the Leeds suburban railway network is partly electrified, the lack of stations is a serious deficiency: for example, travellers from Shipley presently travel non-stop to Leeds, passing en route a number of former stations which were closed in the 1960s and which would, had they survived, have provided an efficient means of getting to town without struggling through the daily road traffic jams.
Similarly, up to 1959, Leeds also had an efficient if somewhat outmoded tramway system which was unfortunately killed-off. Had the tramway been retained and ultimately modernised, there would now exist the basis of an excellent means of moving large numbers of commuters.
Sheffield also lost its tramway a year after the Leeds closure, but did acquire a replacement which has proved very successful in moving the masses up and down the steep hills surrounding the city without adding the pollution associated with the buses which it replaced.
Whereas in days past civic pride ensured that citizens of northern towns and cities were provided with the means to travel easily by public transport, the truth now is that someone intent on using this mode of travel has to be ingenious in the extreme to be able to use it as an effective mode of transport.
Out here in the sticks, though a good basic service is sometimes offered, the East Riding authorities have basically thrown in the towel regarding the promotion of the bus services in its area, handing these operations over to the main bus operator.
Quite naturally, it prefers to publicise only its services, ignoring the other operators. And compared to the conurbations where bus shelters and other provisions for the potential passenger are maintained in an adequate manner, here such niceties do not apply and one wallows in the inadequacies.