"Unlock the gridlock": Campaigners push for a free, electric, publicly-owned bus service for Leeds

Campaigners have met to discuss how a free, electric, publicly-owned bus company for Leeds could become a reality.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 1:30 pm

Around 40 members of the public attended a meeting organised by Our Future Leeds, a network of citizens responding to the climate emergency, on Tuesday afternoon at the former Bridge Street Church.

Speakers outlined how free electric and public bus services are spreading across the world in places like Dunkirk in France, Vienna in Austria, Shenhzen in China, with Harrogate Bus Company already offering free Sunday travel on their electric buses.

It comes after weeks of gridlock on the city's roads, with bus services regularly delayed for well over an hour.

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The event explored how a free, electric, publicly owned bus service could become a reality.

Leeds Council figures show that 77,000 people commute into the city every morning by car - 83 per cent of them in single occupancy cars.

Pollution levels in the city are among the worst in the country.

Our Future Leeds member Suzanne Nicholls said: "We desperately need to take action to unlock our gridlocked city.

"We’ve got dangerous levels of air pollution in parts of the city and a really poor service which affects people on low incomes, the elderly and young people the most.

"In other parts of the country and world they are forging ahead with free electric publicly owned bus services. We urgently need to push for that in Leeds.

"It’s all doable right now.’

Speakers at the meeting included Yorkshire and Humber TUC, Youth Strike Leeds, members of the Leeds Climate Change Citizens' Jury, the Pensioners Alliance, Friends of the Earth, Living Streets Leeds, the Acorn Union and local political candidates.