Posts Tagged ‘BRT’

Why there is antagonism towards at-grade Light Rail/Tramways & streetcars (North America + Canada)

October 26, 2010

The following was sent to Zwei by a very concerned urban transportation advocate.

All the SkyTrain lobby has is fear to debate light rail and spread fear they do. All technical debates between LRT and SkyTrain/light-metro have been won or lost decades ago and SkyTrain has been relegated to the history books. Like uber Regulus fanatics, the SkyTrain Lobby and its ilk, well entrenched in TransLink, desperately try to keep building with the aging SkyTrain system with any argument they can muster.

Zweisystem predicted over a decade ago, if TransLink persisted in building with SkyTrain/light metro, it would bankrupt itself and that prediction has come true, with TransLink, balancing on the knifes edge of financial peril. It can not fund the $1.4 billion SkyTrain Evergreen Line, it can’t fund the proposed $2 billion plus Surrey/Langley extension and TransLink certainly can’t fund the proposed $4 billion UBC/Broadway subway; yet TransLink still wastes the taxpayers money, playing the same games planning for light-metro that no one can afford.

Like a slow motion train wreck, TransLink skirts with financial oblivion, ignoring all danger signals, until it finally crashes into a brick financial wall.

In the end, as noted American transit expert, Gerald Fox: “But, eventually, Vancouver will need to adopt lower-cost LRT in its lesser corridors, or else limit the extent of its rail system. And that seems to make some TransLink people very nervous.”

Why there is antagonism towards at-grade Light Rail/Tramways & streetcars (North America + Canada)

The title could be for a doctorate or thesis on public attitudes & political psychology, towards public transport.

The anathema is not always or usual directed towards cost of a project. Over the last ten years or so of Light Rail advocacy, I has noted a number of key arguments which I have listed below.

  • The road lobby fear at-grade Light Rail/Street Tramways, because of the reduction in road width/road capacity for cars.
  • The road lobby and dedicated motorists don’t like  Light Rail/Street Tramways, because it means that junction/intersection signals will be prioritized for Light Rail
  • Buses & BRT are tolerated because it is known that these modes will not offer modal shift comparable to Light Rail/Street Tramways
  • Downtown & suburban/out of town retailers fear Light Rail/Street Tramways will give shoppers a reliable transport service into the city centre to shop & by so reducing their trade.
  • Politicians & business leaders in suburban townships & rural areas, fear Light Rail/Street Tramways will turn their communities into dormitories as residents find that a commute to  the big city is feasible.
  • Politicians, civic leaders & established residents fear Light Rail/Street Tramways, will bring developers & an influx of newbie’s into their communities.
  • Big city politicians & civic leaders fear Light Rail/Street Tramways will mean citizens moving out further into the suburbs to live, work & shop.
  • Planners & politicians fear Light Rail/Street Tramways will bring urban sprawl.
  • Contrary to many expressed views, major private bus operators are remarkably tolerant of Light Rail/Street Tramways, in Europe many of them operate the Light Rail/Street Tramway systems. With public bus operators, competition with Light Rail/Street Tramways cannot be an issue. There may be a number of small existing public transport operators such as cab firms that fear a loss of trade, but often they readily adapt to the changing patterns.

 To put this into a Fraser Valley/Vancouver/BC context.

  1. TransLink fears Light Rail/Street Tramways, because its likely popularity with the general public will undermine their business model for SkyTrain & their credibility.
  2. Likewise the TransLink apparatchiks on Skyscraper, for whom urban transport is ART running through densely populated cities on elevated segregated tracks surrounded by ….. wait for it……Skyscrapers….of course! What they would actually like to see is a Dan Dare year 3000 scenario with thousands of PRT pods flying around.
  3. Gordon Campbell fears Light Rail/Street Tramways, because it will destroy his credibility and his power base.
  4. Civic politicians  fear Light Rail/Street Tramways will turn their communities into dormitories as residents find that a commute to  the big city is feasible and will bring developers & an influx of newbie’s into their communities.
  5. Civic politicians would support buses or BRT, cos they know that mode will not offer a comparable modal shift.
  6. Langleyapparatchiks  fear Light Rail/Street Tramways, cos it wasn’t their idea and they didn’t think of it first.
  7. Mike Archer & others of his ilk fear Light Rail/Street Tramways, because he’s a journalist & it’s his job & nature to write negative articles about what he doesn’t really understand.

Transit News From Here and There

October 21, 2010

A former 4 lane arterial road with lawned

Chilliwack Times

http://www.chilliwacktimes.com/Uninformed+about+transit/3693739/story.html

Nick Wimpney  open letter to Sharon Gaetz in the Times needs following up

North Shore News

http://www.burnabynow.com/story.html?id=3699636

Hamilton

Most Candidates Support LRT, Mayoral Candidates Split

http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/1207/most_candidates_support_lrt_mayoral_candidates_split

Winnipeg

Bus rapid transit has edge in poll

Winnipeg Free Press

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/bus-rapid-transit-has-edge-in-poll-105418328.html

Cambridge, Ontario

Light rail transit dominates regional debate

Cambridge Times

http://www.cambridgetimes.ca/news/local/article/891078–light-rail-transit-dominates-regional-debate

Los Angeles – Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor light-rail project

L.A. Metro lands TIFIA loan for Crenshaw/LAX light-rail project

Progressive Railroading

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/news/article.asp?id=24827

Engineering to begin on Crenshaw/LAX light rail

South California Public Radio

http://www.scpr.org/news/2010/10/20/engineering-begin-crenshawlax-light-rail/

Transit News Around The World October 19, 2010

October 19, 2010

Phoenix

METRO Playing With A Full House

http://raillife.com/blog/

Los Angeles

LAX rail line is early stop in plan to expedite transit work

http://www.dailybreeze.com/opinions/ci_16357591

Tampa Bay

Hillsborough rail plan is still taking shape

http://tinyurl.com/35egf4g

Wellington, NZ

Councillors signal light rail battle lines

http://tinyurl.com/2udcyql

Norfolk, VA

Light rail may be up & running by Dec.

http://tinyurl.com/2es7phc

Ottawa

Transit tops voter issues, poll finds

Taxes, turfing current mayor, also rated important by respondents

http://tinyurl.com/329zt57

Trains get streetwise

October 18, 2010

The following link from the Professional Engineering Magazine …..

http://www.profeng.com/archive/2010/2311/23110053.htm

….. is well worth the read as it neatly sums up the German city of Karlsruhe’s success in integrating transit.

Karlsruhe, it must be remembered, pioneered the TramTrain concept and with stunning results. When the first TramTrain line (which replaced a commuter train & one transfer) opened in 1993, ridership exploded from 533,600 per week to over 2,555,000, (almost 480% increase) in just a few month! Karlsruhe now operates over 410 km. of TramTrain, including lines in the environmentally sensitive Black Forest, with the longest route being over 210 km.

TransLink and METRO transit planners have singularly ignored Karlsruhe’s continuing success and busily chase their holy grail of densification and SkyTrain planning. The mandarins in charge of the regions transit planning haven’t even a clue what light rail is, or for that matter, what a metro is and try, like fitting a round peg in a square hole, cobble SkyTrain planning, making the metro fit a job far more suitable for modern light rail. The result is predictable, a disjointed and very extremely expensive ‘rail‘ transit system that is too expensive to extend, while at the same time has failed to provide a viable alternative to the car.

Today there are 14 cities with TramTrain operation (only 7 cities have SkyTrain), with a further 20 TramTrain operations being planned for and no one is planning to build with SkyTrain at this date. This is the message that is being ignored by TransLink, METRO Vancouver and provincial politicians. Remaining blind, deaf and dumb about light rail and TramTrain translates in to ever increasing taxes to pay for questionable transit expansion.

Who is not afraid to bell the SkyTrain cat?

If One Build Metro On Routes That Do Not Have The Ridership That Would Justify Contruction……

October 8, 2010

…..Then One Will Have To Pay Large Subsidies To Build And Operate It!

Large Subsidies Translates Into Higher Taxes!

Of course those high subsidies will have to be borne by the taxpayer, either in gas taxes, car levies, or road pricing (or all three), and or increased property taxes. The current belief by TransLink’s highly paid bureaucrats is that the homeowner in the Metro Region is flush enough to pay more property taxes.

What TransLink isn’t doing is planning for cheaper transit options and the term “affordable transit“, is not in their lexicon. Politicians and bureaucrats in Victoria are the same, as they force the metro region to build more SkyTrain and light metro. The time has come for Metro and Valley politicians to draw a line in the sand with this nonsense. If the politically unaccountable TransLink and Victoria want more SkyTrain in our region, then let Victoria pay for it, or better yet, take back the financial black-hole TransLink has become, in its entirety.

As previously mentioned, TransLink’s anti-LRT rhetoric has skewed all regional ‘rail‘ transit planning to favour SkyTrain, despite the fact that no one around the world buys SkyTrain for regional ‘rail’ transit. One now must consider all TransLink’s regional transit planning reported as “fruit of the poisonous tree” and reject it all!

https://railforthevalley.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/the-10000-pphpd-question-translink-is-hoisted-on-its-own-petard/

TransLink’s business case for the Evergreen Line was so planned to support only SkyTrain construction, has been shredded by American transit & transportation expert Gerald Fox.

https://railforthevalley.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/a-must-read-for-regional-mayors-before-they-talk-transit/

The Rail for the Valley/Leewood report has shown that there is another much cheaper way in providing regional ‘rail‘ transit the light rail or LRT and TramTrain solution.

https://railforthevalley.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/groundbreaking-report-on-interurban-light-rail-released-today/

Thus we come to TransLink’s and the provincial government’s gambit to saddle regional property owners with ever increasing  taxes to continue building with the now obsolete proprietary SkyTrain light metro system. Regional mayors should stand fast and reject any further financial demands for ‘rapid transit’ until TransLink does a complete independent financial review of transit options for future ‘rail‘ transit construction, including the the contentious Evergreen Line and a complete independent audit is done on TransLink itself, SkyTrain/RAV-Canada Line and the bus system.

May Zwei suggest Mr. Gerald Fox or Mr. David Cockle to head such a review?

From the press.

TransLink asked mayors for a $68.5 million handout.

The Vancouver Sun

 http://www.vancouversun.com/news/TransLink+asks+Metro+mayors+million+handout/3639962/story.html

The Black Press

http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/surreyleader/news/104509894.html

BRT to Chilliwack & SkyTrain to Langley? Just Business as Usual in BC!

October 7, 2010

The following article by Brian Lewis should forewarn us that the transit decision for the Fraser Valley has been already made. Like all transit studies done in the region in the past 30 years, the decision on transit mode is made beforehand and then a study is commissioned to confirm the decision. This is how transit planning is done in BC: Politicians make the decision and the bureaucrats make sure the political decisions stand with bogus, yet expensive studies.

One wonders why Trans Link is needed at all!

It is to be certain, Premier Campbell has not read the RftV/Leewood Report, though he is aware of its content with the announcement of an Express bus to Chilliwack and SkyTrain to Langley, sometime in the future. The TramTrain study is a radical change how transit is planned for in BC, in which no special party is rewarded, except for those wishing to use ‘rail‘ transit!

In Mr. Campbell’s world, bus based transit means new highways, which will keep the road Builder’s Association happy and building more SkyTrain will keep both Bombardier Inc. and land developers happy. Happy people translates into lucrative political donations to a political party which the happy people belong!

The Premier’s speech to the Union of BC Municipalities, was just telling the party faithful that it is business as usual in BC.

 

 

 

Premier’s transit pitch hard to swallow

By Brian Lewis, The Province

October 7, 2010

A mother shoving cod liver oil down her child’s throat in the belief it’s a good health remedy — even though it tastes bad — is one thing, but unilaterally shoving public transit policy down taxpayer throats is positively unpalatable.

That’s precisely what Premier Gordon Campbell did last week at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler when he announced Victoria’s intention to extend SkyTrain through Surrey to Langley. The tasteless tactic was repeated in the same speech when he proclaimed that Rapid Bus service would link Chilliwack with the rest of the Fraser Valley.

On both counts reaction throughout the transit-challenged region was predictable: “Oh, really?”

Regarding the SkyTrain extension, TransLink, the region’s mayors and all other stakeholders are a long, long way from agreeing on what type of rapid transit technology should be used in building the 17-kilometre link between SkyTrain’s current terminus in north Surrey and Langley district. By far the most expensive option is SkyTrain’s elevated guideway, which in current dollars is estimated to cost a whopping $2.5 billion, or more.

Campbell’s announcement took mayors such as Dianne Watts of Surrey by total surprise. As she has said many times, a ground-level system between Surrey and Langley makes more sense because it’s far cheaper, easier and quicker to build.

Langley Township Mayor Rick Green’s response was blunt : “SkyTrain to Langley is simply pie-in-the-sky,” he tells me.

“There’s no question the premier is jumping the gun here.”

Green notes that TransLink, its Mayor’s Council and the B.C. government only several weeks ago signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct long-term transit planning throughout the region.

Yet, here comes Campbell with an announcement that the extension to Langley will be the SkyTrain technology. “He does this even though the ink on the MOU isn’t even dry,” Green adds.

As for establishing a Rapid Bus system to serve as far east as Chilliwack, those advocating that the old Inter Urban rail line be utilized to re-establish light rail transit from Chilliwack to Surrey are more than a little miffed.

Green, who also heads the South of the Fraser Community Rail Task Force, points out that unlike Vancouver, Richmond or Burnaby, population densities in the valley tend to form in pockets, which makes an Inter Urban light rail system much more efficient and cost-effective than SkyTrain, which works best in areas where high density is uniform.

The premier announcing that Rapid Bus is the choice for service to Chilliwack also reinforces suspicions that a $400,000 study of transit options for the valley, undertaken by Victoria almost two years ago, which still hasn’t been released, will kill the Inter Urban light rail option.

Despite Campbell’s announcements, Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender says all transit options for the region will remain on the table.

He also chairs the Mayor’s Council and acknowledges that this places him in a consensus-building role to keep peace between the region and Victoria and to move the issue forward.

“We all have to work together for the south of Fraser solutions,” Fassbender says.

But a premier dispensing policy like spoonfuls of cod liver oil makes that job tougher.

blewis@theprovince.com

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/opinion/Premier+transit+pitch+hard+swallow/3635873/story.html?cid=megadrop_story#ixzz11g8drgeT

The 10,000 PPHPD Question – TransLink is Hoisted on its Own Petard

October 5, 2010

At the recent streetcar symposium in Vancouver, TransLink officials contend that streetcars have very little capacity, almost less than a bus and that light rail can carry only 10,000 persons per hour per direction. This, despite the fact that the Light Rail Transit Association has, since the 1980’s, defined LRT “as a mode that can carry 2,000 to 20,000 pphpd, thus bridging the gap of what can economically be carried by buses and the ridership that would demand a subway“.

Many cities operating LRT or tram, provide capacities of over 20,000 pphpd on portions of their routes during peak hours, including Karlsruhe, Germany; Helsinki, Finland; and Tuen Mun, Hong Kong. Why then does TransLink maintain that LRT can carry only half as much as many LRT operations do in revenue service daily?

The answer lies in the 1994 Broadway – Lougheed Corridor BC Transit/Delcan study, which has formed the basis for TransLink’s questionable light rail planning since. Instead of involving consultants who have hands-on knowledge about LRT (as RftV did), TransLink continues to refer back to this questionable study, that was ill prepared and filled with technical error. TransLink wants to keep the door open for SkyTrain and metro construction in the region!

In order to make modern light rail appear inferior to the much preferred SkyTrain, the B-L Corridor Study used small capacity light rail vehicles, long headways and a small two car station in the middle of the Broadway/Kingsway/Main Street triangle to maintain the charade LRT comparisons to SkyTrain. The ruse has worked well and TransLink still spews out such dreadful bumf about light rail, that American transit and transportation expert Gerald Fox felt compelled to write a letter condemning the SkyTrain Evergreen Line business case!

https://railforthevalley.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/a-must-read-for-regional-mayors-before-they-talk-transit/

If TransLink has been dishonest with LRT planning in the region since its inception, then we must assume that all TransLink planning is dishonest;  “the fruit of the poisonous tree“.

Regional politicians must now consider that TransLink’s metro planning and their so-called public consultations as a sham process and must now demand independent studies by consultants who have expertise in light rail for regional transit planning. If TransLink’s own vast planning department needs to be reduced to accommodate this, so be it, as the transit planning coming from the ivory towers on Kingsway are not worth the paper they are printed on.

A primer on modern light rail for Mr. Shiffer and company:

  1. The difference between LRT and a streetcar is that a streetcar operates-on street in mixed traffic, LRT operates on a reserved rights-of-ways.
  2. LRT and streetcars can carry 20,000 pphpd, or more, if need be.
  3. LRT can and does operate at 30 second headways.
  4. LRT is cheaper to operate than SkyTrain.
  5. Modern light rail has made SkyTrain and the light-metro class of transit obsolete.

It becomes evident why Vancouver and the Metro region is the only city in North America and Europe that uses SkyTrain and light-metro (Canada Line), exclusively for regional rail transit instead of LRT and its variants.

The taxpayer have grown weary of TransLink and carrying the SkyTrain tax burden.

As Predicted – “Mayors consider raising taxes to pay for TransLink”

September 16, 2010

 As predicted yesterday:

TransLink is in a conundrum; there is no money for new metro expansion and the bureaucracy refuses to plan for much cheaper light rail. There is no way out, either taxes must increase to pay for metro construction or the transit system stagnates and becomes even more unattractive product for customers.

It seems Langley City Mayor and the rest of the regional mayors are going to take the cowards way out, by raising everyones municipal taxes to build the Tri_Cities Millennium Line. Instead of questioning the need to build, yet again, another hugely expensive metro line on a route that doesn’t have the ridership to justify the investment, regional mayor should look at cheaper options. Instead of saying “NO” to TransLink and their dated and cumbersome metro planning, they are going again to attack the taxpayer to fund political and bureaucratic metro dreams.

Next week, Rail for the Valley will be releasing a document that shows that we can build ‘rail‘ transit cheaper, far cheaper than the planning mandarins, in their ivory towers, on Kingsway can plan for. Here is an example: for the cost of the $1.4 billion plus Evergreen Line, we can build 140 km. of TramTrain in the region plus a Vancouver to Maple Ridge TramTrain service!

Does Mayor Fassbender want a political reaction like the HST, by raising taxes for a transit mega project that in the past has failed to induce a modal shift from car to transit? Are regional mayors so insensitive to the effects of another tax hike to build something that can be achieved for a fraction of its price.

It is time regional mayors hire an independent transportation consultant to give an alternative opinion for transit solutions in the region than what the well heeled bureaucrats at TransLink want forced on the public. Rail For The Valley certainly can suggest one!

Mayors consider raising taxes to pay for TransLink

Funds needed to build Evergreen Line

By KELLY SINOSKI, Vancouver Sun – September 15, 2010

Metro Vancouver mayors will likely consider a separate financial supplement to pay for TransLink’s $400-million share of the Evergreen Line by the end of the year.

Peter Fassbender, chairman of the mayors’ council on regional transportation, said Wednesday the mayors hope to fund their commitment for the rapid transit line, or the provincial government will come up with another way to make them pay for it.

A funding supplement would have to be approved by regional mayors, and could involve raising fuel or property taxes to bring in extra money for TransLink. The province has already said the Evergreen Line, the region’s top priority, will be built to connect Coquitlam to Vancouver via Port Moody. The provincial and federal governments have committed their share of the project.

“We have a window of time to either come up with our commitment or the government will have to do something else,” Fassbender said. “[A financial supplement] is the only way we can come up with our share. What it looks like I don’t know yet because it hasn’t been developed.”

Fassbender will meet Premier Gordon Campbell and Transportation Minister Shirley Bond next week to examine long-term issues of TransLink’s financial woes.

He said he can’t “pre-suppose” what decisions will be made at the meeting but hopes “we’ll be moving forward in a positive way.

“The purpose is to talk about working together to deal with sustainable funding and issues in transportation. It’s not going to be easy.”

A report this week by transportation commissioner Martin Crilly suggested TransLink is still struggling to pay for transit services and will have to look at other methods if it’s to meet the ambitious goals in its 2040 plan.

“To gain ground on the background growth of the region, a greater portion of the region’s wealth will need somehow to be devoted to providing that capacity,” he said in the report. “TransLink has yet to solve the conundrum of funding for capacity expansion, and cannot do so alone.”

Crilly said Wednesday TransLink will have to move in the direction of a “user-pay” system to continue to build transit infrastructure and operate it. Road pricing is just one example, he said, to get more people out of single vehicles and using transit or carpooling.

“That really is a more efficient use of space,” he said. “But in order to increase capacity it’s going to mean people will end up spending less on private travel and more on collective travel.”

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Mayors+consider+raising+taxes+TransLink/3531218/story.html#ixzz0zhQW6cf6

“Misguided” Busway Part 2

September 1, 2010

More news about Cambridge’s “Misguided” bus or BRT. Instead of being simple and cheap alternative to a ‘rail’ solution, the Cambridge BRT is ending up costing  more than reinstating the rail line for DMU/EMU or tram service.

The real question needed to be answered will be: “For all the cost and delay, will the Cambridge guided (BRT) bus attract its projected customers or will it merely be regarded as a local transit curiosity and not attract the all important motorist from the car?”

The yet to be used Cambridge Guided Busway

Guided Busway to Open Next Spring

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Huntingdon-St-Ives-St-Neots/Guided-busway-to-open-next-spring.htm

Chris Elliott

The guided busway may finally be up and running by next spring, the News can reveal.

Sources close to the project have disclosed that at the current rate of progress, it could take about seven or eight months to finish the concrete track completely and get it ready for the first buses to roll.

That will mean an opening date either in March or April 2011 – making the busway more than TWO YEARS late.

As the News reported a few days ago, Cambridgeshire county councillors are due to examine a progress report on the troubled scheme at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, September 7.

The report says that contractor BAM Nuttall has still not fixed six defects in the northern section of the busway, which runs between St Ives and Cambridge.

However, the company is making “good progress” on completing the southern section at Trumpington, and is expected to be finished there by mid-December.

If BAM Nuttall does complete the southern section by mid-December, the council will give the contractor a month to rectify the faults on the northern section – and if that does not happen, the council will step in to do the job itself.

Together with subsequent checks and bus trials, the News understands that this could stretch out the work until March or April – although if con¬struction of the southern section is completed more quickly, the timetable might be brought forward.

The defects identified by the council include raising the level of parts of the maintenance track alongside the busway, which has been flooded, and remedial work on the viaduct at St Ives, where rainwater has leaked through an unsealed joint.

A county council spokesman said the council could not confirm that the busway would open by the spring.
He said: “Whilst the contractor has said they will complete the route by mid-December, we are in their hands until the work has been completed.
 
“We are very clear that the defects must be rectified and once the route is handed over we will know exactly what work the council will need to carry out and a more precise idea of how long that will take.
 
“It is frustrating that BAM Nuttall have not finished the job as yet and although damages of over £7 million have already been deducted from the contractor all we really want is the work to be completed so we can get the route open and passengers can start using it.”
 
Mike Mason, South Cambridgeshire district councillor for Histon and Impington, criticised the delays.
 

He said: “It’s a political disaster, and it’s never going to make money. The council have completely failed and there is no credibility in any of their statements because they’ve made so many predictions that haven’t happened.

“Any of the political parties on the council could have stopped this a long time ago, and all three political parties share equal blame, but the Cambridge taxpayer is going to pay the price.”

£76m Leigh Guided Busway on hold over cost fears – From the Manchester Evening News

August 31, 2010

Postings in other blogs have been painting an all too rosy a picture of BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) and this post should level the playing field somewhat. Just as a note, the Cambridge “Misguided Busway” is built on a former railway formation which greatly reduced initial cost estimates and as the guided bus project now stands, it would have been cheaper to reinstate the railway instead! Imagine, a modern LRT line with lawned rights-of-ways, rather than this start concrete guide way needed for the BRT.

The yet to be used Cambridge Guided Busway

£76m Leigh Guided Busway on hold over cost fears

Alan Salter – August 31, 2010Manchester Evening News

A controversial £76m busway plan in Greater Manchester has been put on hold.

A review has been ordered into the Leigh Guided Busway project – which has been on the drawing board since 1996 – even though contracts for vital preparatory work worth £1.3m have already been awarded.

The move comes after Richard Knowles – an Oldham councillor and Salford University professor of transport geography – was sent to Cambridge to see a similar scheme.

The Cambridge busway is infamous in the transport world for spiralling costs and delays. The bill for the 25-mile busway, between Huntingdon and Cambridge, has risen from £54m to £116m and could even reach £160m by the time it opens.

Now, the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition which controls the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority has voted to review the Leigh busway – despite Labour opposition.

The project – linking Wigan, Leigh, Salford and Manchester – would see a special lane built for buses on the East Lancs Road. Four miles of the route – between Leigh and Ellenbrook – would see specially-adapted buses using ‘guided’ concrete tracks along the path of an old railway line.

Keith Whitmore, vice-chairman of the authority, said: “We are talking about a review which will take weeks rather than months. It would look at the costings and the way it operates in the light of what has happened in Cambridge.

“I visited Utrecht where they rejected the building of a second busway and decided to build a tram line instead. There is also the question of how the Leigh busway would operate – who exactly will use it has never really been tackled.

“If the review shows that everything is fine, then it can go ahead. But there has never been unanimous support for it.”

Dubbed the ‘misguided busway’ by opponents, the project has been seen in some quarters as a sop to Wigan and Leigh – which are not included in plans to expand the Metrolink.

http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/transport/public_transport/s/1315499_76m_leigh_guided_busway_on_hold_over_cost_fears#comments

For more on Cambridge’s ‘Misguided‘ busway:

http://www.noguidedbus.com/