LEEDS City Council has today confirmed proposals for a significant investment to the city’s bus services, totaling more than £180million, improving buses, stations, journey time, and service frequency.
Buses have a vital role to play in achieving the key aims of our Leeds City Region Strategic Economic Plan, which are to create 36,000 extra jobs and generate £3.7bn of additional economic output.
First West Yorkshire has pledged £71million which will be spent increasing its current fleet by 284 buses before the end of 2020, and LCC is in talks with the operators of other services about additional investment.
The city received £173.5million worth of funding from the Department of Transport in May, when they decided not to proceed with the New Generation Transport trolleybus - stipulating that the funds need to be invested in public transport before the end of 2021. Some of this funding would be spent improving public transport infrastructure, complementing the new proposed bus services.
The new proposals would affect 90% of the services on the core bus network - used to make a quarter of a million trips in the city every day - ensuring they run at ten-minute frequency, with increased frequency in early evenings. Additional priority measures for buses on roads such as the A61, A660, A58, and A647 would ease traffic congestion for all road users, and improve the reliability and journey times of bus services.
There’s also plans for a new park and ride site at Stourton, providing an express bus to the city centre, and the current Elland Road park and ride service will continue to be expanded to link with other parts of the city - in addition to the north Leeds and Temple Green park and ride schemes opening next year.
Improvements to the city centre bus station, district travel hubs, and bus stops are also planned, with over a thousand more set to display real-time travel information and timetables.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport chairman added that the improvement to transport links would also benefit the city’s employment: “Buses have a vital role to play in achieving the key aims of our Leeds City Region Strategic Economic Plan, which are to create 36,000 extra jobs and generate £3.7bn of additional economic output.”
Now, if they could also get that person who sits next to you first thing in the morning to stop eating cheese and onion pasties for your whole journey, that’d be £180million well spent...