YP Letters: Leeds public transport and a chronicle of failure

From: Tony Young, Cross Bank, Skipton.

Public transport in Leeds has had many false starts.

ONCE again your headline ‘Motorists face over £2bn bill for jams by 2025’ (The Yorkshire Post, November 30) highlights the determination of Leeds City Council to keep their heads firmly in the sand. It is now well known that Leeds is the largest urban area in Europe without a transit system. What is perhaps less well known is how many times it has failed to get one:

1945: Tram tunnels under city centre planned by Leeds City Engineer and Transport Manager, an excellent project but not implemented.

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1953: Three single deck prototype trams for subways enter service, but tram tunnel plans already scrapped.

1959: Last Leeds trams, system abandoned, including miles of segregated tracks (later accepted as a huge mistake).

1965: ‘Fastaway’ bus rapid transit introduced. Failed to attract car users and services so withdrawn.

1982: Trolleybus powers for Leeds included in West Yorkshire (Parking and Transport) Act 1982. Authorises WYPTE to construct trolleybus routes on any road in West Yorkshire.

1985: ‘ElectroBus’ trolleybus system planned for Leeds and Bradford by WYPTE. Key objective to reduce air pollution. Stage 1 routes to Roundhay, Moortown, Hunslet, Middleton and Cottingley. Stage 2 to Bradford. Section 56 grant application November 1985, rejected by DoT.

1987: Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire PTE propose tramway along York Road to Seacroft, Cross Gates and Colton (re-instating original abandoned tramways), termed ‘MetroLine’.

1989: Leeds Advanced Transit (LAT) proposed by Leeds City Council on route from Middleton via city centre to St James’s Hospital.

1990: Leeds Dual Transit (LDT) concept proposed by Yorkshire Rider based on guided bus technology. Partly implemented on York Road, Scott Hall Road and Selby Road.

1993: Leeds Supertram Act receives Royal Assent for tram route to Middleton and Tingley.

1994: Leeds Transport Strategy includes light rail lines, busways and highway schemes.

2001: Leeds Supertram (Extension) Order 2001 approved for lines to north and east Leeds. Government funding for Supertram approved.

2004: Secretary of State for Transport Alistair Darling cancels Supertram and tells West Yorkshire to get a bus system.

2007: Metro propose tram-train route linking Harrogate and Castleford lines, possibly with street-running through the city centre.

2007: Metro propose trolleybus system system linking Headingly and Stourton with city centre loop.

2010: Government approve funding for Bodington and Stourton routes but not East Leeds or city centre loop.

2012: Programme Entry approval obtained by Metro and Leeds City Council for trolleybus scheme, TWA Order to be sought in Spring 2013.

2016: After public inquiry, Government cancels trolleybus scheme.

2016: Proposal for tram-train to Leeds Bradford Airport.

While many of these failures are down to central Government, the need is even greater now than 70 years ago. Air pollution is in the headlines almost every day. Congestion in the city is getting worse and bus speeds are dropping. Leeds has for the first time got the funds to start a transit system. To spend it on more park and ride and other such minor schemes is fiddling while Rome burns.

If the city council cannot bring itself to change course, Leeds residents, businesses, local economy and environment will lose a once-in-a-generation golden opportunity to put Leeds back in the fast lane alongside Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham. Glasgow City Council is now planning tram-trains to Glasgow Airport. Leeds should follow its example.

Disturbing findings

From: Bob Watson, Baildon.

THE Policy Exchange study on the current views and attitudes of British Muslims (The Yorkshire Post, December 2) makes for extremely disturbing reading.

Amongst other things, the study finds that 31 per cent of Muslims thought the USA was behind the 9/11 terror attacks; 26 per cent did not believe in extremism; 48 per cent would not turn to the police to report someone close involved in terrorism and 43 per cent supported the introduction of sharia law.

Only four per cent believed al-Qaida was responsible for 9/11.

Is it any wonder that so many non-Muslims are concerned with the role of Muslims in society? The lack of proper integration is no great surprise looking at these figures.

Council chief’s real legacy

From: Paul Carr, Vicarage Close, Outwood, Wakefield.

I WAS interested to read outgoing Wakefield Council chief executive Joanne Roneys’ achievements (The Yorkshire Post, December 3). Before her departure to better things, perhaps she might like to take a short walk along Cross Street, Wood Street and Kirkgate.

This area used to be the heart of Wakefield, but is now populated with pound shops and a tattooist. While Wakefield One and the Trinity Centre may have merit, it appears to have been to the detriment of the city centre.

All that is missing is tumble weed.

Heralding a Royal scandal

From: Mrs NJ Strachan, Thornton, Bradford.

YOUR feature about the abdication of King Edward VIII in December 1936 reminded me of a story my mother told me (The Yorkshire Post, December 2). She would have been 18 at the time and said there was a version of the Carol Hark the Herald Angels that went “Hark the Herald Angels sing, Mrs Simpson’s pinched our King”.