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Posts Tagged ‘West Yorkshire PTE

New generation turkey

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The Plans panel of Leeds city council ‘will be considering the planning issues’ related to the New Generation Transport (articulated trolleybus) at the Civic Hall council chamber at 09:30 on 25 June 2013. The panel will ‘inform a Full City Council meeting on the 1st July 2013, which will decide whether the City Council (together with Metro) should make an application to the Secretary of State for a Transport and Works Act Order (TWA Order), giving them the powers to construct and operate NGT’. If the Full City Council decides to proceed, the application is likely to be made in September 2013.

As the TWA Order application is made to the Secretary of State, it will not be the role of Plans Panel to decide whether permission should be granted for NGT. However, if the TWA Order is made, any permission granted will be similar to an outline planning permission, and will be subject to planning conditions, where the City Council will be responsible for their discharge. The proposed draft conditions at this stage will be among the matters being considered by Council Members of City Plans Panel on the 25th June, alongside a draft design guide.

The scheme to be discussed at the City Plans Panel meeting will provide an opportunity for Panel Members to help understand the NGT proposals and impacts and provide an opportunity for them to respond to any further issues / concerns which may arise from the public or interest groups as part of the process. The views of the public will help form the City Plans Panels response to the NGT proposals.

To aid members of the public further, draft engineering drawings will also be available for inspection covering key characteristic areas of the route. These drawings will be available from the 12th June 2013 by accessing the following web link http://www.ngtmetro.com However, the full suite of application documents will not be available until the TWA Order is made.
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The meeting will be held in public and there will be an opportunity for public speaking. The issues under consideration will solely relate to matters concerning planning issues, for example, the impact the route may have upon the character of a particular area, tree loss, the impact on buildings and walls and the siting of proposed sub-stations or the details of the proposed draft conditions (e.g. fixtures to listed buildings). Other matters, for example, the choice of route / technology, trolley bus & over headline electrification / value for money / funding, will not be discussed at this meeting but could be considered at the potential public inquiry into the TWA Order application. As noted above, members of the public will have opportunities to make representations about the scheme and participate in the Inquiry. The Panel is open to members of the public to attend. At Panel there will be an opportunity for objectors or supporters to speak providing this is on planning grounds only. The NGT project team, as applicants, will be responsible for presenting their proposals.

The design and technology selected for NGT is directly responsible for the effect the scheme may have upon the character of a particular area, tree loss, the impact on buildings and walls, etc. But discussion of the design and technology is off limits at the plans panel meeting. So, what purpose does the meeting serve?

Written by beleben

June 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Politics

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Rethinking the new generation

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According to the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, there is only ‘low level resistance’ to the Leeds NGT trolleybus scheme, and a battery powered alternative is not possible.

Consultation in 2009 showed that while there was some low-level resistance to the scheme, 77% of the 2,600 or so people who filled in a questionnaire supported NGT and 76% of the respondents supported the use of trolleybuses.

Since drop-in sessions started again in November last year, over 500 people have attended one or more of the nine events. Some had previously not engaged in the process or had simply forgotten the details of NGT, while others were concerned about the plans due to the myths and misinformation being circulated by the scheme’s opponents.

There are currently no ‘pure’ battery buses available which can carry the required number of people to operate the rapid transit NGT service. Whilst some battery powered buses are in operation, these are lower capacity vehicles than are required for NGT.

For a bus large enough to run NGT, the weight of batteries dictates that the batteries would need topping up during operations – this is known as ‘opportunity charging’. A recent study with industry experts, which looked at alternative bus drivetrains until 2030, was not able to evaluate an ‘opportunity charge’ battery-powered articulated bus, because the concept has yet to be proven in tests, let alone in commercial operation.

One of the main problems with ‘opportunity charge’ electric buses is that they require a significant layover time at each end of the route to recharge the batteries, which can substantially increase costs, because of the additional vehicles and drivers required.

It is therefore not currently feasible to promote a battery powered alternative to trolleybus, as we cannot demonstrate that it would be deliverable at the Public Inquiry and we cannot begin the procurement process.

NGT, in its current form, is a lemon. If it is to go ahead, there is a need for a re-think on the fundamentals. For example, by making the trolleybuses double deck, instead of articulated, they would be more manoeuvrable (and perhaps some of the most disruptive land take could be avoided). And the vehicles should be capable of off-wire operation, with the opportunity charging happening on the go, on the wired section into Leeds.

Written by beleben

April 22, 2013 at 11:29 am

Ducking the question

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Are West Yorkshire bus quality contracts workable?Bus strategy in West Yorkshire is one of the items on the agenda for June 29’s annual general meeting of the county’s Integrated Transport Authority (ITA). The Authority intends to recommend that councillors approve the implementation of a quality contract scheme, claiming the idea has public backing.

As in several other areas of Britain, West Yorkshire politicians have been talking about implementing of bus quality contracts for years, without actually following through. The ITA has fallen out with the Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire, with chairman James Lewis saying that de-regulation has led to long term planning failure, network instability, and unbalanced rewards for operators.

It would be ‘interesting’ to see a quality contract scheme in operation, because West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive currently does not have the wherewithal to plan and operate a bus network. So there are two significant issues with having quality contracts — cost, and competence. As Bus and Coach noted, the authority is “curiously quiet on the cost of a quality contract scheme”.

It ducks the question on its website saying “depending on how the scheme is implemented, the specification made and how receptive to the scheme bus operators are, there may be no additional public subsidy required to run a quality contract scheme.”
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Metro [West Yorkshire PTE] and other English PTEs have tended to look for inspiration to London’s tendered bus network without fully considering either its cost or the very different economic circumstances of London and the south-east compared with the post-industrial conurbations served by the PTEs. Earlier this month the neighbouring South Yorkshire PTE moved away from its earlier pursuit of quality contracts when it announced new partnership plans for bus services in Sheffield.

Written by beleben

June 26, 2012 at 2:27 pm