OUR busway has been on the drawing board since 1996 and was originally due to open in 2011.

Half of the buses from Leigh town centre will use a guided section from the outskirts of Leigh that bypasses Atherton and goes directly to Tyldesley. The other half will use existing roads through Atherton and Tyldesley. Both will navigate a further section onto Ellenbrook only. Apparently it may finally open, almost 20 years after the original idea, in 2015.

On reading the letter from James Crawford expressing concern about double-decker buses and other issues on the four miles of planned guided busway from Leigh to Ellenbrook, I looked up the other main busway in operation in the UK.

The Cambridge guided busway is infamous in the transport world for spiralling costs and delays and was also called ‘the misguided busway’. It is 16 miles long and opened in August 2011 but the opening had been delayed by 2 years. The Cambridge scheme is designed for buses travelling at 55 mph slowing to 30mph where it crosses public highways. The Sunday service provides a bus every 15 minutes and there were a million customers within four-and-a-half months. All the vehicles are equipped with leather seats, air conditioning, real time information, charging sockets and free Wi-fi. Like our own local scheme, the Cambridge project was years in the talking and cost far more to make than originally budgeted and because of contractor difficulties additional costs to the public purse were accrued.

The project was budgeted to cost £116 million but cost £180m, a 50% increase. A court date of January 2014 has been scheduled for proceedings to begin at the Technology and Construction Court in London. Cambridgeshire County Council has set aside £6.5 million for legal costs for pursuing a £60 million claim against the contractor BAM Nuttall.

However the Stagecoach operator uses single-decker and double decker buses. So, like Mr Crawford I also have unanswered questions: especially to find that double-deckers may be used on these routes.

The artist drawings of the scheme show only single-deck buses. Eight double deckers an hour on my local route could lead to loss of privacy for houses right next to the 10-metre wide track. If the timetable is like the Cambridge scheme these buses will be running from 7am to midnight.

It seems the route will not travel under existing former rail bridges but be ramped up to travel across the top of them. How can this be sensible?

Will the service be Eco-friendly? The Cambridge busway vehicles are electrically powered or hybrid engine powered. Will ours just rely on traditional diesel engines?

Finally, where is the promised local route website, not the TfGM one?

Chris Rivers address supplied