I have pointed out in previous articles that trains and trams are not just expensive to build and run, but are also very inflexible. They are also vulnerable to breakdowns of individual trains/trams that can rapidly bring the whole of a network to a halt.
A good example of their inflexibility has been given by the halting of all services on the West Midlands Metro system. A fault has been found on the trams so all 21 trams have been withdrawn from services until further notice.
Would this have happened if the service had used buses? No because trams are typically specially constructed vehicles so cannot be easily replaced while buses are more standard and can be rented at short notice.
Many people, including public transport managers and politicians have an irrational love of trams. They forget the lessons of history. Birmingham had an extensive tram network which ran from 1904 until 1953. But it was abandoned in favour of buses which enable routes to be changed very quickly and with much lower maintenance costs. That was why trams were withdrawn in Birmingham and many other UK cities after the second world war.
The closure of the West Midlands Metro service is particularly damaging because the new CAZ in Birmingham starts today (14th June). Car users now face a charge of £8 per day unless they run a compliant vehicle.
There is a Facebook group for those who oppose the Birmingham CAZ: https://www.facebook.com/groups/abcaz
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