Monday, February 26, 2007

We're mopping up the dregs...

Remember the Leeds Supertram fiasco

How ten years of planning and financial arranging all got pissed against the wall last year by HM Government ?

How the people of the City of Leeds were royally shafted and told that our plans for a nice, clean, green public transit system were crap, after being told how good they were for ten years ?

How, for the sake of £500million, a good percentage of which would be raised via private investment, this fourth largest city in England would have to stick to filthy unsafe buses that may or may not turn up in accordance with the rough guess that is the "timetable" ?

Well, the small print of that incredible Dept of Transport ineptitude was that they would research "some viable alternatives" for the city and get back to us.

And true to their word they've done their research and they've got back to us - with £1.7million and some red paint.

The viable alternative to an integrated city-wide electric tram system (like many cities in the UK already have) is to paint a bus lane down one of the major routes into Leeds and use the existing filthy, unsafe buses on them.

Burley Road (A65) is one of several major routes into Leeds, its two lanes wide in both directions and it clogs with traffic for a couple of hours every morning and every evening. It already had various sections of it as dedicated bus lanes so that the car traffic can effectively already only use one lane at peak times whilst the dedicated bus lane stands empty most of the time waiting for the next bus, which may or may not come along depending on how pissed off the driver is that day.

Notice how I mention that the A65 already has a bus lane for most of its distance ?
Thats because its true.

So the new viable option (which will cost £3million in total) is to have, erm, well, a bus lane.

"But you've already got one" I hear you all cry.

Yes its true I reply, but you see the old bus lane is a black and white one, that is the bus lane markers are white paint ont he black road surface - the new bus lane is going to be painted red, so, well, it different - now come on, thats thinking out of the box there isn't it, how did we not think of that one years ago, why did we think we needed £500m spending on supertram when all along we could have had inventive red bus lanes to do the same job for a fraction of the cost - how stupid we were.

Thats it, thats what we're getting, a bus lane where a bus lane already exists, its just a colour bus lane instead.

And another thing ...

Note how I use the word "unsafe" when referring to the old dirty buses ?

Its because a friend of mine has a 14 year old son who was travelling into Leeds with two friends at 5pm one evening a short while ago when they were mugged by three older boys with three mobile phones and a quantity of cash take - the bus did not have video and the driver was not interested when the boys told him, in fact he put them off the bus at the next stop.

The friend of mine is actually a police officer and attacks and muggings on buses as well as disinterested drivers are apparently not uncommon.

Its why I don't let my girls ride on Leeds buses - they are not safe.

The red bus lanes will be nice though.

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