The northern route from the City Centre to Holt Park is highly controversial as it would cause a great deal of environmental damage whilst only shaving 3 to 4 minutes from the current bus journey time.
In order not to delay inbound traffic at the junction of the A660 with Clarendon Road, the trolleybus would run across the part of Woodhouse Moor called Monument Moor.
Using a process called “vehicle stacking” traffic would be stored on the dual carriageway that crosses the Moor. This would transfer the traffic jams that currently occur from the Arndale Centre to Hyde Park Corner, and from the city centre to Clarendon Road, onto Woodhouse Moor. Metro hope that this would allow the trolleybus to run more easily along the narrower stretches of the A660 at either end of the Moor.
The Cycle Track from Hyde Park Corner to Headingley Hill
The A660 from Hyde Park Corner to Headingley Hill isn’t wide enough for both a cycle track and the trolleybus, so the cycle track would be scrapped.
Hyde Park Corner
The parade of shops where Jean Crowther’s florist’s used to be, would be demolished.
The proposed NGT route leaves the A660 at Headingley Hill and crosses the fields that lie between the A660 and Hinsley Hall. It proceeds through the Shire Oak Road Conservation Area, behind the Arndale Centre, and re-emerges onto the A660 near the junction with Shaw Lane. Stone cottages that are in the way would be demolished.
The broad grass verges that characterise this stretch of the A660 would be lost, as would some gardens.
The central reservation would be done away with, along with its mature trees.
The wires that supply electricity to the trolleybuses would be suspended from gantries. Trees in the way of the gantries would be severely cut back.
The Energy Efficiency Myth
Using diesel engines to moves buses from A to B is no less an efficient use of energy than using power station produced electricity.
The Myth that Trolleybuses are Green
Trolleybuses are less polluting than diesel buses only in countries which produce large amounts of renewable energy, such as hydro-electric power. In the UK, trolleybuses merely transfer pollution from the streets to the countryside where the power stations are located.
The Overhead Wires
The trolleybuses and their overhead wires would pass through the Headingley, Hyde Park, Woodhouse Moor and Shire Oak Road Conservation Areas. The wires would spoil the appearance of these conservation areas.
Metro hopes that NGT will shave 3 to 4 minutes from the current bus journey time from the city centre to Holt Park. If a time saving does occur, it will most likely be because the trolleybuses will make far fewer stops than our current buses. The big distance between trolleybus stops is very bad news indeed for the elderly and infirm.
It’s currently estimated that NGT will cost £250 million. The government has potentially agreed to pay £173.5 million. Leeds council taxpayers will have to find the rest.
Alternatives to NGT
Metro has never considered alternatives to NGT. Before they asked central government for funding for NGT, cost benefit analysis should have been carried out on all the alternatives. This was not done.
Hurdles ahead for NGT
Before the government releases funds, there will have to be further consultation, a Transport and Works Act Order, and a Public Inquiry. Quality Bus Contracts will also have to be put in place.
What do other UK cities think about trolleybuses?
No other city in the UK operates a trolleybus system. London considered trolleybuses, and rejected them.