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Room for one on top


Antony Oliver's candid comment on buses is more valid than he cares to admit. The pioneering Runcorn Busway has been in operation for over 30 years.

Although bus trips are faster than car, buses only carry 15% of Runcorn trips, no better than other towns without busways, and way below the predicted 50% when it was built.

The more recent Scotthall Road busway in Leeds attracts 2% of patronage from cars.

Motorists can tell the difference between a tram and a bus, no matter how it is dressed up, and are willing to travel by rail but not by bus.

Civil and other engineers therefore need to find ways to make tramways cost effective.

This could lead to a change of heart by the government in funding new projects. It might also be possible to promote new tramway projects which aim to attract a maximum modal shift from car on the basis of a commercial scheme with private funding.

Professor Lewis Lesley, technical director, TRAM Power, Liverpool L11 OEE

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