Transport in Leeds on agenda with YEP’s big issues survey

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The YEP asked you what the biggest issues are affecting people in Leeds – and today your answers are revealed.

Hundreds of readers responded to our Big Cities Survey and highlighted areas from public transport and schools to hospitals and GP surgeries where you want to see change.

Today, the YEP is putting transport into focus as we launch the first in a series of special reports showcasing what it is really like to live in Leeds and what matters most to you.

“This survey will give us a clear picture of the issues that matter to you,” said YEP Editor Hannah Thaxter.

“What you’ve said will help us shape our news agenda and our campaigns for the months ahead.”

About 50 per cent of those who responded to our survey said they find themselves stuck in traffic in cars or on buses in Leeds every single day.

Just under half of people surveyed also said they would rate public transport in the city as either “poor” or “very poor”.

The survey results come after Leeds City Council undertook its own consultation on the future of public transport in the city.

After the failed trolleybus mass-transit scheme was scrapped in 2016, the council submitted plans through its Leeds Transport Strategy to the Government, to use the money as part of a £270m investment.

The plans include new railway stations to be built at White Rose Shopping Centre and Thorpe Park, and a new landmark station serving Leeds Bradford Airport. Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said: “These survey results very much echo the clear feedback from over 8,000 responses we received in our own largest-ever transport conversation, that people want to see a range of improvements to our transport network now and in particular for public transport in Leeds to be better and more efficient, helping us tackle congestion and improving air quality issues. Through these improvements we have set a clear target of doubling bus passenger numbers in 10 years.”

In our survey, people commented asking for mass-transit or tram plans for the city to be resurrected as a key priority. One comment said: “Leeds is the largest city in Western Europe without a rapid transport system and congestion will only increase until we get one. It’s the only way to go.”

Coun Blake said that a mass-transit system remains a “key ambition” for the council.

As well as roads, we asked how you felt about improvements to railways in the region.

Plans to electrify and speed up rail journeys between Leeds and Manchester were thrown into doubt this summer, after a Government U-turn.

We asked to what extent you agreed that having a faster Transpennine rail link, and more frequent service, would help reduce traffic congestion in Leeds. Almost half of the 782 people who answered the question said they either “agreed”, or “strongly agreed”.

Coun Keith Wakefield, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee Chair, said: “We are investing and working with transport partners to improve public transport, reduce car journeys and congestion and encourage more people to explore alternative ways to travel.

“We have opened three new railway stations, including Kirkstall Forge. In partnership with Leeds City Council, we have opened new park and ride facilities at Elland Road and Temple Green with a further facility planned at Stourton.”

Coun Wakefield said the Authority has also developed schemes to improve cycling and walking infrastructure as well as bus travel.