Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Mrs Susan Petch (RT 02)

  As your Committee is carrying out an enquiry into Light Rapid Transit Systems I would like to send you my comments. I am an ordinary member of the public who lives in a busy city and uses public transport to get to the centre of town. Now, the system we have of buses that are unreliable and get stuck in traffic jams is not the best of public transport. I (and my family) have been to many towns and cities of Europe where they have Light Rapid Transit Systems and each one has been such a pleasure to ride on.

  These are the advantages of Light Rapid Transit Systems:

    1.  Wherever possible they run on their own segregated tracks away from the road so that they do not get caught up in any traffic jams.

    2.  They get from A to B in the quickest possible time.

    3.  Low floors are advantageous to the disabled and parents with pushchairs.

    4.  No pollution as they run on electricity.

    5.  People have faith in these systems and the morale of the drivers is very good.

    6.  I have never been disappointed with the service of any of the LRTS and this includes Manchester and Sheffield.


  We in Britain have the problem of having to "start again" with public transport in built up areas because we did away with trams after the Second World War. Those European cities that kept them going are now laughing and all they need to do is to upgrade their existing systems.

  If systems are to be considered then it has to start from scratch. This of course is a massive major project that needs to incorporate not only the town/city but its suburbs. It is not worth doing just a bit of LRTS.


  LRTS to me is the only way forward to ease the congestion on our roads and at the same time giving the public a wonderful choice of mode of transport. In fact, LRTS is shear luxury to us whereas it is something those living in so many towns in Europe (including those of eastern Europe) take for granted. I know that we in Britain deserve better public transport.

  We CANNOT keep on promoting the car as the only way to travel.

  People will just not get out of their cars unless there is a REAL alternative. Perhaps you will have to wait and see the difference the Midland Metro has made and Croydon's new system.

  We cannot have the stick before the carrot! I am quite prepared to pay extra tax if I knew it was going to give a LRTS in my home town.

23 September 1999

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