UNTIL LEEDS has a world class public transport infrastructure, West Yorkshire’s most prosperous city will be ever more reliant on the quality – and reliability – of its bus service.
Its importance should not be under-estimated. Without buses, Leeds would be even more congested – and it would be even harder for people, from across the wealth spectrum, to travel to and from work.
As such, it is eminently sensible to ensure that routes meet the greatest demand – whether it be from commuters, shoppers or those elderly passengers who have no other means of getting about.
Yet it’s also about transforming a Cinderella service that only merited a cursory reference in the Tory election manifesto when it was launched in Halifax. Like policies pertaining to flood defences and cycling provision, public transport should be a factor when local authorities consider future planning applications – both commercial and residential – over a certain size.
It can’t be left to chance. If the Government, and local councils, are serious about cutting pollution, a word that only features in the Conservative prospectus in the context of noise, there needs to be a change of direction when it comes to the planning of transport policy. And this doesn’t just apply to Leeds – it’s a challenge for the whole county.