Leeds Bradford Airport bus users figures row EXCLUSIVE

Leeds City Council have been accused of manipulating figures to show that fewer people are using their cars to travel to Leeds Bradford Airport.

Passengers who park their own cars at the airport – but use a shuttle bus to get to the door from long stay car parks – are being marked down as travelling to the airport by bus.

The figures were flagged up in Leeds City Council's surface access strategy which was presented to its scrutiny board for city development.

According to the report, 2.7 million passengers flew from Leeds Bradford Airport last year.

More than 62 per cent of holidaymakers used their own cars to travel to the airport in 2010 while over 15 per cent used taxis and a further 8.8 per cent opted for a minibus.

But only 6.4 per cent used a public bus service.

And around seven per cent of airport users were recorded as using the shuttle bus – even though some of them might have used their own cars to get to the car park.

Local councillor Brian Cleasby (Lib Dem, Horsforth) has questioned the credibility of the statistics.

He said: "The council is selling us short.

"Almost one in 10 people arriving in a car is being discounted because they had the sense to hop on a shuttle bus to take them to a door. So, in the eyes of the report they arrive by bus. Passengers are being put into the wrong category – it is disgraceful.

"This is the council's doing and not the airport's doing.

"Now we are left wondering what other stupidities we have got in our system."

Coun Cleasby said around 47 per cent of holidaymakers come from West Yorkshire and a vast majority are being advised by sat-nav systems to travel through Horsforth and surrounding villages.

He added: "These passengers could still be passing through Horsforth adding to the traffic and congestion and then parking up.

"Horsforth is in the way of a lot of people's routes from West Yorkshire to the airport so this is becoming a bigger problem."

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said that the figures show how passengers get to the airport forecourt and didn't represent how people travel to the vicinity of the airport.

She added: "The figures were supposed to be transparent, not to mislead.

"The Department for Transport set us a target of trying to get 40 per cent of passengers to travel to the airport by public transport.

"We don't include the car park service bus as public transport though, so we are currently achieving 30.6 per cent."

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