Time that the Government properly invested in Leeds transport system, insists city MP

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, in her latest column, says the Government needs to invest more in the city's transport network

Monday, 29th April 2019, 11:55 am
Updated Monday, 29th April 2019, 12:06 pm
Leeds train station.

"It is almost a year since the botched introduction of a new timetable caused chaos on our railways.

Tens of thousands of train services in Yorkshire were cancelled or faced major delays as travellers enduring months of misery after the revised timetable was introduced last May.

Leeds train station.

According to some estimates, the delays and cancellations cost businesses across the North more than £37million.

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Inexplicably, despite his total failure to deal with the problems, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling managed to cling on to his job and his place in the Cabinet.

While the delays might not be in the headlines any more, the issues facing rail passengers in Leeds and the wider region are far from resolved.

I have just written to the Transport Secretary about the need for an urgent upgrading of Bramley station in my constituency of Leeds West.

People are worried about using the station at night because of the lack of lighting. The station needs CCTV cameras to help people feel safer and reduce the risk of crime.

Some trains are so overcrowded they are unable to board them which means people are often late for work or are forced to miss important appointments.

It is a similar story at other train stations in Leeds.

Some, like Headingley, are seeing changes after I have called for action to improve access to the platforms and install better lighting and CCTV.

That is welcome.

But commuters using train services stopping at Burley Park tell me they frequently cannot get on the carriages at peak times.

They are also unhappy with the ticketing facilities there.

I campaigned successfully to get the number of trains stopping at Kirkstall Forge doubled from one an hour to two per hour.

However, there is an issue with the timings of the trains which makes it hard for some passengers to make connecting services.

The popularity of the station means that there still needs to be even more services stopping at Kirkstall Forge, especially as more businesses locate there and new homes get built.

There is also a real shortage of parking spaces to meet the growing demand.

I am fighting for these changes and talking to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Network Rail and Northern about how we can improve both stations and services for people in Leeds West and across the city.

I will also be carrying out a survey of rail users in my constituency to hear more about the problems they face and the improvements that they would like to see. Of course, improving our rail services is just part of the work that has to be done after years of cuts imposed by the Tories and their ongoing programme of austerity.

Local bus services have also suffered cutbacks over many years. Last week, Labour announced that a Labour government would spend £1.3 billion a year to reverse cuts to 3,000 bus routes and fund the expansion of new bus services in England.

I know that this will make a huge difference across the city of Leeds.

Our rail and bus network are a lifeline for so many people in our city and are vital to help them get to and from work, school and college and also to stay in touch with friends and family.

It is time that the Government reversed those cuts and started properly investing in our transport network across Leeds and the wider region."

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