Letter: Trams can be cheaper

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THE article "Trams hit cost barrier" (Business, 17 March) was correct in its insight into the continuing problem of convincing politicians of the many virtues of electric street tramway operation. However, it is not correct that London's Docklands Light Railway was built without government support. In fact developers contributed only to the Bank section and Canary Wharf facilities. Of the pounds 800m so far invested in the DLR, only about 10 per cent did not come from central government sources.

The cost of modern articulate trams is, you rightly point out, too high, but the tram would last three times as long and need half the operating staff of the bus used in the comparison, making whole-life costs much closer. Also the car user has shown no desire to transfer to using a public transport vehicle which offers the poorer ambience of the bus of the cost quoted.

The biggest problem of all is that no amount of traffic management or bus provision can overcome the fact that too much pollution is inherent with the continued domination of unguided transport using an internal- combustion engine in large urban areas.

Alan R Pearce

Light Rail Transit Association

London W4

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