DROP Guided Busway plans and clear the way to a real link for Leigh That's the message from transport specialist Cllr Norman Bradbury, who said the "Misguided Busway" will cost around £80 million to build – more than double the original estimate.
"It’s not too late to stop the Leigh Manchester Guided Busway," said Cllr Bradbury, who represents Atherton ward on Wigan Council and is a former chairman of GMBuses branch of UNISON.
"If elected representatives on Wigan Council withdraw their support for the scheme, it will not go ahead. Then it will make it feasible for Leigh to be brought back into the national railway network within the next decade, a project that everybody could support."
Cllr Bradbury said: "The latest document on the Mis-Guided Busway issued by the GMITE states that between 1998 and 2002, local organisations, residents and businesses were consulted on the proposals. Well that’s eight years ago and public opinion on this scheme has now changed following the experiences gained in other conurbations in this country and across Europe.
"The picture their document shows is of a guided bus being driven on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway. This may be the 'World’s Biggest White Elephant' being over two years behind schedule, with only half of the project complete.
"The current estimated cost is £150 million as compared with the original estimate of £65 million. Objectors sent 2,700 letters and nearly 4,000 signatures on a petition to of the Secretary of State for Transport objecting to the Busway. Four people wrote in favour.
"Some journey times on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway are now 36 minutes compared with the original 32 minutes on a conventional bus service. Service frequencies which were promised of every 3 minutes, are every 20 minutes.
"To re-opening the disused Heavy Rail link would have cost £50 million and this proposal was supported by 3,800 people."
Last December the Journal ran an article highlighting local man Michael Walmsley's campaign to get Leigh back on track.
Thousands who share his desire for a Leigh rail link and station have lent their support by signing an online petition to Downing Street (petitions.number10.gov.uk/LeighStation/