Why the Transport Secretary must listen to the voices of YEP readers in a bid to unlock the gridlock for transport across Leeds - Laura Collins, YEP Editor

It’s an issue that has dominated the front pages of this newspaper countless times in the last few weeks and months.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 6:00 am
Recently we called on our readers to share their thoughts on how to get Leeds moving.

And yet the conundrum of trying to get Leeds out of the slow lane with its creaking transport network is something that isn’t proving to be an easy fix.

That is why the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has accepted our open invitation to visit our city this week and see firsthand the issues that many of our readers face as they battle to get from one side of Leeds to another.

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Over the weekend I read through page after page of your comments, which I will be submitting to Mr Shapps, about what you would like to see happen to get our city running as it should at last.

And there were plenty of suggestions – our readers have never held back when it comes to being vocal on the subject of transport.

You’ve asked for better cycle routes, a mass transit system and an increase in the number of park and ride sites across Leeds.

You have also expressed concerns about the current state of public transport, sharing anecdotes of late running buses and trains and the impact these have had on your lives and livelihoods. One reader dubbed public transport in Leeds as “mediocre, in every area”.

Some of you expressed fears that our city’s roads can’t cope with any more cars on them and the issue continues to get worse as the years go by. One reader suggested: “Fewer cars has to be the answer, we’re killing each other with the air pollution and the traffic jams are driving everyone insane.”

Everyone in this city has a stake in being able to get to and from their homes, their places of work and across Leeds without having to worry about the transport nightmares many of us face on a daily basis.

And that is why I hope that the Transport Secretary will read each of your concerns carefully as he looks to see what we can do to make sure Leeds really motors on in the next decade.

Transport chiefs will be watching this carefully to see whether this is a success.

And Kim Groves, who chairs the committee, used this very title to plead as to why Leeds needs a local bus network that puts local people at its heart.

Last week saw a hike in rail fares met with dismay by those using the trains as well as calls for Northern to be stripped of its franchise.

And as many of us get back to waiting on platforms for trains – which may or may not turn up – we can only hope that Mr Shapps doesn’t face any cancellations on his journey up to Leeds this week.

Our city deserves actions rather than empty promises to help ease the pressure on its woeful transport infrastructure in a bid to finally unlock the gridlock.