Leeds city centre is set to be home to a new trolleybus network after plans for the system were approved by transport secretary Justine Greening.
The £250 million project is estimated to create 4,000 jobs as well as providing the Yorkshire city with a new form of public transport, improving on the current bus and train offerings. Leeds is still lagging behind cities such as Nottingham, Manchester and Sheffield in not having a metro or tram network but the new trolleybus service is designed to improve public transport links around the area and officials have stated that it will be cheaper and faster to construct.
This type of transport is popular across the globe with major cities such as San Francisco, Lyon and the largest of its kind being situated in Salzburg, Austria, and Leeds will be the next location to embrace this state-of-the-art technology. It has gained notoriety and popularity due to its ability to be built quickly and how it also has the option to be run on clean energy. The vehicles require overhead cables to operate but are able to drive on the road so do not require any tracks to be laid.
Upon completion, the service will run from Holt Park in the north to Stourton in the south, linking two park-and-ride schemes allowing for easier access into Leeds city centre and potentially reducing the amount of traffic entering the area on a busy weekend. For around 40 per cent of the 8.7 mile route the trolleybus will operate in specifically designated lanes minimising the amount of disruption for other road users.
Officials have stated that subject to "programme entry status" being granted allowing the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive to apply for the statutory consents work will begin in 2016 with a completion date estimated for 2018.
Ms Greening said: "Leeds will have new state-of-the-art trolleybuses that will be faster, more reliable and greener than their predecessors. They will make public transport in Leeds more accessible and attractive than ever before and I know trolleybuses will be transformational for growth and jobs in West Yorkshire."
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