Trolleybuses Tank in Leeds UK

New Transit projects in the UK go through a rather onerous process before approval and the Leeds trolleybus projects did not stand up to scrutiny.

It would be fair to say that not one of the SkyTrain or mini-metro projects could have stood up against a truly independent review, which is too bad because by not having a rigorous process to review hugely expensive transit projects means, that $10 billion in public expenditure on the mini-metro system may have been wasted on a series of never ending “vanity projects”.

Back to Leeds, this must be a blow to trolleybus fans everywhere, but certainly in Leeds, the trolleybus just did not provide the benefits as promised by its promoters and now it is back to the drawing board.

From the BBC.

Leeds’ A?250m trolley bus scheme rejected

  • 12 May 2016




Plans to build a A?250m trolley bus network in Leeds have been rejected by the government.

The Department for Transport (DfT) accepted a report from a planning inspector who said the scheme was “not in the public interest”.

Councillor Judith Blake said the city had been “let down” by the decision.

The DfT said its A?173m contribution towards the project would be used on other public transport schemes in the city.

More on this and other West Yorkshire stories

The proposed project, known as the Leeds New Generation Transport (NGT) scheme, would have seen a nine-mile (14.8km) route built from the centre to the north and south of the city.

‘Very frustrating’

In his report, the planning inspector accepted there “was a strong need to improve public transport in Leeds”.

However, he added “the applicants have not demonstrated that the scheme would meet key objectives of supporting significant economic growth, reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, or enhancing the quality of life in the area it would serve”.

The report also said the public inquiry into the scheme had received more than 1,700 letters of objection – “the most ever in decade”.

Ms Blake, Labour leader of Leeds City Council, said the delay in making the decision had been “very frustrating”.

“Leeds has been let down by successive governments in Whitehall on transport – first Supertram and now with NGT,” she said.

However, Ms Blake was grateful the city was still getting some help with other infrastructure projects.

“I’m pleased Leeds will still be allocated the funding and look forward to working with our partners to bring forward the public transport improvements Leeds so desperately needs as quickly as possible.”

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2 Responses to “Trolleybuses Tank in Leeds UK”
  1. eric chris says:

    From my perspective, the cost of 15 km trolleybus route at $460 million Canadian is way too much. Although I approve of trolleybuses and trams, unless they are replacing diesel buses to truly cut carbon emissions, citing reductions in road congestion and carbon emissions from cars to tax drivers and property owners for public transit is disingenuous, and I’m fed up with it.

    Obviously, the people in Leeds did not want the trolleybuses. They are the ones who are paying for public transit, and the “transit authority” has no right to force them to pay for what the transit authority wants. Implementing public transit with trolleybuses in Leeds has been hotly debated for years and the people have spoken:

    Similarly, this applies even more so in Vancouver where TransLink seems to think that it can defy the wishes of voters in the plebiscite to pursue funding to spend on subways and viaducts which it has no mandate to pursue. Public transit does not reduce road congestion. Whenever anyone whose job depends upon public transit uses this fake argument to fund public transit, the public has the right to reject the public transit scheme. I’m sick of the lame and specious argument that public transit lures drivers out of their Range Rovers and Cadillacs:

    ““The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from U.S. Cities” concluded that “the provision of public transportation has no impact on vehicle kilometres travelled. The transit advantages were offset by an increase in driving by current residents; an increase in transportation intensive production activity; and an inflow of new residents.”

    Real transit use is falling in Metro Vancouver. For Crown employees at TransLink to demand billions of dollars for their proposed subway line in Vancouver is a bit much and offensive. TransLink isn’t publishing its ridership until June to delay the news of its plummeting ridership for as long as possible. I live by UBC and students are going apes for car sharing – empty transit buses are everywhere and the lack of seats on public transit isn’t the reason for the drop in transit use..

    Public transit costs have to come way down in Vancouver and all the express service (diesel bus at 3 AM) in Vancouver has to go. It isn’t competing for drivers on the roads and certainly isn’t going to be able to compete with the flying car in 2018. No way, forget it:

  2. Haveacow says:

    Eric, just the cost of the concrete and steel plus the possible need for underground services relocation and upgrading (mostly for the electrical services) for a limited busway of this design would cost around $350 Million (Canadian) for 15km of right of way. Not to mention, the specialty buses at 1-1.5 million Canadian per vehicle because they were planning a non standard body (doors both sides) and bus type design.

    After looking at some of the plans details, including the need to purchase up to 50 buses. My cost total by the way doesn’t include the cost of the spare parts package from the yet unknown manufacturer, maintenance training and the garage, due to the fact that Leeds doesn’t have trolley buses right now. This is also assuming they chose a conventional trolley bus design and not one of the new type, hybrid trolley bus designs, with many unknown costs because they hadn’t really finalized that part of the proposal yet. Much of that part of the proposal, like the type and nature of the “Trolley Bus” and its actual manufacturer was not yet decided thus, the total cost of the support infrastructure was still an unknown. Which is probably one of the main reasons DFT killed it. That part of the design would have been finalized when they had gotten bids from interested parties during the RFP part of their plan. That’s like Translink saying we want a train under Broadway in a tunnel but we won’t know the details of the design until we get the proposals from the possible interested parties.

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