Letters: Conductors back on buses would be just the ticket

THERE must be easier solutions than the tram project to the problem of efficient mass movement of people around the city to prevent the roads becoming choked up.

Most car users long ago gave up on negotiating Edinburgh's crowded roads.

During the hours in which car drivers are permitted to use bus lanes, the highways are too often clogged up by these nasty, fume-emitting beasts.

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This is especially so in the summer months, when much time is consumed by buses sitting hurling pollution into the environment, while the drivers try their best to efficiently issue tickets and advice on directions to foreign school parties who struggle to present the correct amount of an alien currency.

Once upon a time, the driver's job would have been made easy, and the roads more clear, when a conductor did the rounds.

While this concept may seem to our current transport "visionaries" to be as old hat as what ticket sellers once wore on their heads, just think of the space on congested roads that could be cleared if a fraction of the huge tram project budget had been devoted to this instead.

Conductors would also be able to stop the feet-on-the-seats misbehaviour and bad language that plague our buses today.

James Weir, London Road, Edinburgh

Drivers should be praised for work

I'D LIKE to applaud and echo the remarks made by Dorothy Page (Interactive, 24 June) concerning complaints against Lothian Buses. It is utterly despicable that the bus service should be blamed for delays, instead of the real culprit, namely the tram fiasco.

I am astonished that drivers have been able to maintain an exemplary service in the midst of such confusion and muddle. The drivers have maintained their cordiality, cheerfulness and patience in spite of this endless tram nightmare.

Lothian Buses and their long-suffering drivers should be praised for their laudable service and awarded for enduring this eternal bungle, and the critics soundly reprimanded.

Charles Quinn, Belhaven Terrace, Morningside

The paradox of PFI has hit schools

COMMENT in the News (June 16) that "Like it or not, PFI did deliver on new schools" was much too simplistic. Tony Blair made exactly the same point a few years back when he convinced a concerned yet gullible public that PFI was the only game in town. He argued that people are not interested in who provides new schools and hospitals as long as they are built.

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Today the reality of PFI means that cash-strapped councils push an agenda of privatisation, attacks on workers' pay and conditions and cuts in public services while they pay back debt at gross rates of interest over the next 30 years for projects that would have been much cheaper to build under the old system of public borrowing.

First trialled on the NHS under the Tories, the Private Finance Initiative is now known by the more "cuddly" name of Public Private Partnership (PPP). Opposed by Labour the last time they were in opposition, it became a flagship policy of New Labour in power and is still endorsed by Labour today.

Yes, new schools may have been built, but paradoxically because of crippling debt other schools are in disrepair. PFI is anything but the most cost-effective way of renewing our crumbling infrastructure.

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh

Swedish lesson for Scots on power

SWEDEN'S parliament has overturned a 30-year ban on building nuclear reactors.

This will allow construction of up to ten to replace the ageing ones which supply 40 per cent of the country's electricity.

In Britain there is a growing realisation that windturbines are useless and that nuclear reactors produce no CO2.

Scottish politicians need to learn from Sweden.

It is no use Scotland relying on windpower and refusing nuclear reactors since when the wind does not blow and existing power stations are closed Scotland will have to import electricity from England.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow