"It's just not possible to run a service": Leeds bus driver speaks out after weeks of 'horrendous' traffic congestion

A Leeds bus driver has spoken of his frustration at not being able to deliver the service he wants after another week of 'horrendous' transport chaos on the city's roads.
Traffic builds up on Kirkstall Road.Traffic builds up on Kirkstall Road.
Traffic builds up on Kirkstall Road.

The driver, who works for First Bus, said: "You cannot do it. It's just not possible to run a service with the conditions put in front of us."

Bus delays on the city's roads have frequently been reaching between one and two hours over the past few weeks.

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There was huge disruption on Tuesday after a bus hit a pedestrian, closing Boar Lane for several hours.

A car fire on the A6120 also caused a large traffic build up on the same evening.

And to the south of the city several lanes were closed on the M1 southbound near Lofthouse, which also affected the M621.

On Friday last week, First Bus said a combination of Black Friday shoppers, a climate change protest and peak time traffic led to delays of more than two hours.

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The driver, who wants to remain anonymous, said: "It's getting to the point where you're saying 75 minutes late is not bad going. It's a regular occurrence.

"We have pride in our jobs - we are here to provide a service. It's very frustrating."

He said 95 per cent of passengers understood it was not the drivers' fault, but that the delays were also impacting their families as drivers now almost always finish late.

The driver said there seemed to be a lack of 'joined-up thinking' when it came to the many road works across the city.

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"Leeds' expansion is a wonderful thing, but we do not have the infrastructure to go with it," he added.

"We want 21st century infrastructure, but we've got 18th century roads.

"A car breaks down on the inner ring road and Leeds grinds to a halt."

Roads being made narrower, cars parked in the city centre and taxis stopping where they shouldn't also mean bus drivers struggle to get through.

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More red routes, where vehicles are not allowed to stop, would help, the driver said, and he praised the 'wonderful' park and rides for how well they work.

"Ultimately, you may just have to massively restrict the amount of traffic coming into Leeds," he added.

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