Leeds Civic Trust report reveals how to get a city back on the buses

Leeds Civic Trust have launched their hard-hitting report setting out how the city's residents want their bus service to change for the better.

By Andrew Hutchinson
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 9:51 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 9:52 am

The Trust's community engagement project began in March 2021 with the overarching aim of encouraging some ‘blue sky’ thinking about how the bus services across the city could truly become excellent.

Feedback was generated through surveys, discussion groups, an interactive map and a competition of ideas.

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Changing Leeds - Life on the buses during the 1960s

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Leeds Civic Trust have launched their hard-hitting report setting out how the city's residents want their bus service to change for the better.

Residents told the report authors that they want a bus service that is: 'frequent', 'quick', 'affordable', 'connected to the trains', 'a pleasant experience', 'accountable', 'easy to use', 'safe', 'accessible for all', 'eco-friendly and 'comfortable'.

Leeds Civic Trust says it is now working with organisations across the city to identify practical ways of converting these aspirations into practical improvements in the short term while campaigning for the bus service to be brought under public control, following the lead of other cities such as Manchester.

Leeds Civic Trust Director, Martin Hamilton said: "All too often, reports such as these are seen as box ticking exercises, but by asking residents directly what they want, we have identified what needs to change to deliver the sort of bus service that will encourage people to choose a mode of transport that is much more environmentally sustainable than many of the alternatives.”

Project coordinator, Gwen Thomas, said: “Having lived in Leeds for three years now without a car, I’ve experienced first-hand having a bus which has never turned up, and I’ve had to navigate the complicated ticketing system myself.

"But speaking to members of the community who are affected the most by our under-performing bus service has opened my eyes to how it needs to be improved, as soon as possible. Leeds shouldn’t settle for a poor bus service, when it deserves an excellent one.”

Matthew Topham, Campaigner at Better Buses for West Yorkshire said: “This fantastic project has shown that local people are demanding their fair share: we want a network that is affordable, reliable, frequent and door-to-door – just like London.

"The report’s conclusion is a natural one, calling on local leaders to ensure that Leeds residents are at the heart of decisions on fares, timetables, routes, and standards.

He added: "Unsurprisingly, that means the Trust has joined a host of national organisations, like the Centre for Cities and CPRE, in calling for bus franchising as soon as possible. Is the Combined Authority using all its power, resources, and influence to make franchising happen? Are they challenging the Government to back them up? These are the questions which will make or break Leeds’ hopes for an excellent bus service.”

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