Should Leeds should bring back trams?

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by adrock1976, 24 Mar 2018.

  1. Dentonian

    Dentonian Established Member

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    I suspect you are slightly exaggerating the figures to prove a point, as the DSS (or whatever they are called this week). OTOH, I think the average distance on Metrolink outside the city centre is 1km, but don't forget people have to get to the main road in the first place, often from extensive residential areas. Blackpool is a "proper" tramway, even with the new fangled trams, which at least are more comfortable than Metrolink. It also pre dates De-regulation by many little short of a century and there is full integration of fares with the buses.

    Your history is also slightly selective, given that the N/S examples you point out are self evidently pre-SELNEC. The 135 is registered at "frequent intervals" and is generally every 8-9 minutes on Mon-Sat daytimes and every 10 for most of Sunday.
    The 125 was obviously undermined by the heavy rail link to Glossop, but also a more general policy of reducing Limited Stop services with the growth in congestion during and after Deregulation. There were, of course, numerous other Limited Stop services along Hyde Road - albeit mostly peak only.

    Obviously, over the years, bus services have reduced as a result of lost patronage - a vicious circle - but this has had its peak periods of 1986/7 (obviously) and the last 3-4 years. The point about Metrolink is that many routes based on the supposed Jobs hotspot of Manchester Airport, Wythenshawe and even Sale along with numerous parts of Oldham and Rochdale and to a lesser extent (so far!), Droylsden have all seen significant reductions in services, with Arriva virtually wiped out.
     
  2. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    I presume that's aimed at me, and if you are stressing the importance of local buses as part of the transport mix then I actually agree with you. I do however think that many people will switch to the car if the only alternative is a bus service that gets stuck in the same traffic jams as the car and has the added disadvantage of stopping every few hundred metres. An integrated connecting network where buses feed into light or heavy rail can fill both roles.
     
  3. daodao

    daodao Member

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    Keeping up with the frequent changes in bus routes post deregulation is quite difficult, and I lived many miles from Greater M/c from 1982-2005. However, I recall using Arriva route 16 via Withington Road (the replacement for the southern portion of MCT route 62) on 2 occasions in 2003 when attending a conference at M/c University, and route 73 (the number was unchanged from the pre-WW2 tramways) via Leicester Road only ceased a few years ago. I would have expected these roads to generate sufficient traffic to justify some sort of bus service at least on weekdays (but not on Saturdays on the Leicester Road route).

    Frequent bus route changes/withdrawals, with marked frequency reductions, together with traffic congestion in urban areas, have made buses very unattractive for anyone who can use an alternative form of transport. Metrolink is far better than the desultory bus services that now serve most areas of Greater M/c, but as light rail is expensive to construct, it will never be comprehensive. However, it should be expanded, and the suburban railways to the SE of M/c should be the next to be converted, once the line to the Trafford Centre has been opened. This would improve public transport to many of the areas formerly served by NWRCC longer-distance routes via Hyde Road (33, 125).
     
  4. harri2626

    harri2626 Member

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    If buses are so much better than trams, why is it that trams show a continuous year-on-year increase in usage, whereas bus usage shows a continuous year-on-year decrease? It is well-proven that a good quality tram service attracts usage and modal change. At peak times in all UK tram city centres with mixed-traffic, it is common to see near-full trams trying to fight their way through congested streets full of buses running at 20-30% capacity. Even when buses offer a nominally faster service because of a more direct route, the ride quality is often far inferior to that of a tram. Standing on a bus, with today's erratic driving skills, is not a pleasant or safe experience, whereas tram passenger often stand by choice, even when seats are available.
     
  5. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    There is a difference between a British bus and a bus in some other countries. In, say, the Netherlands or Switzerland (yes, I'm talking about those countries again), there is less difference in status between bus and tram compared to the UK. Buses in the Netherlands and Switzerland will generally be of higher specification, for example including air conditioning and double glazing, two things that even Metrolink doesn't have. You can also expect boarding times to be similar to a tram because of the use of efficient fare collecting systems. You may also have bus priority that actually works. Fully electric buses are becoming increasingly common in the Netherlands, with Eindhoven alone having over 40 articulated fully electric buses. Over 100 electric buses, mostly artics, have also just gone into service on routes south of Amsterdam. Not only are electric buses good for the local air quality, they are also quieter and smoother to ride on than diesel equivalents. I had the pleasure of riding on Eindhoven's air-conditioned electric buses during the hot weather a couple of weeks ago. The ride was fast because of the use of dedicated busways over large parts of the route and almost all passengers used smartcards.

    So it could be argued that Dutch buses are "good enough" and there is no need for trams. That may be true from an image and quality point of view and the Dutch seem to prefer building elaborate busways. However, trams are still better at moving large crowds and there is a tram route under construction in Utrecht, replacing a bus route where extra long 25 metre double-articulated buses running every few minutes are not enough.
     
  6. Dentonian

    Dentonian Established Member

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    Actually, it was in response to daodao, but I suspect it serves as a gentle reminder to many others.

    I've discussed the concept of integration many times before and it simply will not work in this country (outside London), mainly due to the appalling reliability/punctuality of all modes, but also the hostile walking and waiting environment.
     
  7. Dentonian

    Dentonian Established Member

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    All about statistics, nothing about human beings! There are many reasons for a decline in bus usage, for which Rail is an increasingly relevant one. And what is so good about (able bodied, middle income) people switching from bus to rail, if it fails to reduce congestion; and increases social exclusion, with the double whammy that those excluded are forced to pay for their own inconvenience? And whilst there is an increasing problem with bus operators failing to re-upholster seats, to say that Metrolink in particular has superior ride quality, is ridiculous - hence why passengers prefer to stand than sit on hard moulded spine-jarring plastic! As is your claims about bus use and driving standards. I understand that my corridor into Manchester carries an average of over 50 passengers per bus in the morning peak, and the route I use to feed into it carries even more at the other end of the route! Also, for all Stagecoach Manchester's increasing faults, driving standards are NOT one of them in my extensive experience. And why are you standing on as bus with 70-80% of seats free?

    As radamfi says, there is a status problem with buses in this country, which combined with crazy transport ecomonics, are the main causes of all our urban congestion problems.
     
  8. Dentonian

    Dentonian Established Member

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    I don't recall the exact route of the 33, but I'm guessing it morphed into the 233 and ran from Marple and or Romiley via one of the south Manchester corridors. As such, it served what are now relatively well off high car ownership areas. The 125 route is completely different, as once out of Glossop, you are into the current 201 route all the way along Hyde Road. This corridor still has low car ownership, poor incomes and its densely populated catchment area extends south of the A57 in two places. Arguably, it is historically one of the most profitable bus corridors in the whole of northern England. To remove public transport from a proportion of this corridor could be a socio-economic disaster, with the already chronic congestion going off the scale and, I suspect, a big increase in crime and RTAs, including doing what is necessary to get a car. It has already had an awful deal in recent years with frequency reductions, greatly increased journey times (due largely to the stock car circuit that is the M60); services kicked out of the city centre (to make way for Metrolink); and continuing captive market premium fares. Then there is the minor technicality (or saving grace for those who don't live up to 1930s Germanic image of physical fitness), that the corridor itself has never had a rail line.

    Going back to the 16 route - story is that it was withdrawn once Arriva knew their objection to the MMC/OFT over First acquiring Finglands, was rejected. TBH, with Metrolink wiping out their Wythenshawe area ops, I'm not sure why Arriva are still in south Manchester................unless most of their revenue is not actually coming from passengers paying for bus tickets.
     
  9. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    So why would it work in London?

    Looking at bus usage statistics for the UK, the few places outside London where it hasn't fallen substantially are those where the local authority is highly supportive of buses. This doesn't depend on whether the place in question also has trams (Nottingham) or not (Brighton).
     
    Last edited: 17 May 2018
  10. Dentonian

    Dentonian Established Member

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    Are buses slower in London; peak hour schedules on my side of Manchester are typically 6-7 mph and off-peak struggle to reach double figures. Even Sunday mornings are slow - a recent 3.9 mile journey at 0845 took 21 minutes (timetabled as 15), and that wasn't even in the city of Manchester.

    No point in the buses being more reliable if there are hardly any left - and if you are starting from a base of 360,000 households in the county carless, congestion will increase as their public transport gets more remote.

    Also, remember London's buses have a flat fare of £1.50. Most GM routes statt at £2 for one stop. And, a lot of the integration is with the Tube, which runs very frequently. If I catch a tram across M'cr (typically Piccadilly Stn to Shudehill) I regularly wait 10 minutes and the one behind is only 2-3 minutes behind. Hardly punctual, even when its actually running!
     
  11. daodao

    daodao Member

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    The 33 ran from Romiley/Greave via Lancashire Hill/Reddish/Hyde Road to M/c city centre. I presume that the section from Reddish (Vale Rd) to M/c was a replacement for the 33 tram.
     
  12. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Quite a big difference between minimum and maximum journey times in London!

    http://www.londonbusroutes.net/details.htm

    Integration is really quite poor in London compared to other European countries. Whilst buses are generally quite good at going close to rail and Underground stations, there is a huge gulf in bus only fares and combined bus/rail/Tube fares.
     

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