New bus masterplan aims to keep Leeds on the move

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Civic leaders in Leeds today unveiled proposals designed to revolutionise bus travel on some of the city’s busiest roads.

Leeds City Council is planning to put new bus priority measures and improved infrastructure in place on three key transport corridors.

Part of First's new fleet of buses.

Part of First's new fleet of buses.

The first is Bradford to Leeds via Stanningley, Bramley and Armley, the second is Alwoodley to Leeds via Moortown and Chapel Allerton while the third is Oakwood and Roundhay to Leeds via Harehills and St James’s Hospital.

A public consultation was today launched on the plans, which have been drawn up by the council with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and are being supported by bus operators First Leeds, Arriva Yorkshire and Transdev.

Council leader Coun Judith Blake said: “We are very pleased to be updating the city today with where we are on delivering the changes we need to our transport network.

“Lots of work is going on across the city and now we need to continue the transport conversation by talking in particular about enhanced bus services and what we need to do to make bus travel faster, more efficient, reliable and cleaner.

“Looking at all aspects of a road network, we want to maximise the limited space we have so it is as efficient as possible.

“Priority bus networks have proven to be highly effective, so we look forward to sharing the plans and hearing what people think.”

The proposals also include changes to the Armley Gyratory that would aim to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion.

If the plans get the green light, work on the three corridors and the gyratory would be funded by some of the £173.5m left over after the collapse of Leeds’s trolleybus project.

It is hoped the improvements would help double the daily number of bus journeys made in Leeds within 10 years.

The proposals form part of a wider transport strategy for the city that has been rebranded as Connecting Leeds.

Today’s announcement comes as the council and the WYCA continue to explore options for a mass-transit system following the failure of trolleybus and its predecessor, Leeds Supertram.

And it has emerged that automated and driverless vehicle technology is being considered as a way of plugging what remains a yawning gap in Leeds’s transport provision.

Coun Blake said: “Leeds should rightly be at the forefront of bringing such technology to the UK so we are very keen to explore those possibilities along with the options for more traditional systems.”

The first of a series of drop-in events where people can find out more about the bus plans will take place from 5pm to 8pm tomorrow at Bramley Community Centre.

Bosses at First today announced that 34 new ultra-low emission buses will be running on the number 1 and 6 routes in the Headingley area by the start of April.