Student draws up West Yorkshire underground map for mass transit conversation

Thomas Wild's West Yorkshire underground mapThomas Wild's West Yorkshire underground map
Thomas Wild's West Yorkshire underground map
A university student has drawn up a West Yorkshire wide underground map which he hopes will be a talking point in the conversation about a mass transit system for Leeds and the wider city region.

Thomas Wild said has devised a London Underground style map for West Yorkshire, which he hopes will broaden the debate.

Mr Wild, 22, from Scarborough, is studying psychology at the University of Bradford.

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He said: "Instead of prioritising economic benefit I wanted to make something that prioritised healthcare, education, and a person's ability to access work.

"There is no mass transit system in West Yorkshire and it is definitely a hole that needs filling."

"It (the map) is not something that should be taken too seriously in terms of the logistics. It is something that is worthwhile discussing. I just wanted it to be more of a talking point."

"I just want people to be aware of what the options are.

Mr Wild said he has sent a copy of his West Yorkshire underground map to West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

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Mr Wild's ideas have been put forward as the YEP continues its Unlock the Gridlock campaign that set out five key transport priorities that we want political leaders at local and government level to support, including considering a mass transit system for Leeds.

In January West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) said it was looking to ‘accelerate’ early plans to fund the building of a rail-based mass transit system, adding its research suggests a state-of-the-art battery powered service could be likely.

It followed calls from regional leaders in December urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to commit £20m to help them develop a Leeds mass transit system he had promised after the December general election.

Previous attempts at bringing tram systems to the city were scrapped in 2005 and 2016, but a paper published by WYCA, which looks after large transport and infrastructure projects in the region, claims ‘early preparatory works’ must now take place for mass transit in West Yorkshire.

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The document stated: “With announcements likely around future funding of mass transit during the next few months, the project team is now looking to accelerate work, with capital funding approvals likely to be sought at the April 2020 Combined Authority for further mass transit development.”

It later added: “In a post-Brexit world, there is a need for a transport system worthy of a region that is seeking to compete on a global stage. There is a significant opportunity to truly transform the transport system over the next decade through blending best in class, innovative technologies to create a 21st Century mass transit system.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the commons in December that his government would “remedy the scandal that Leeds should be the largest city in Western Europe without light rail or a metro”.

In 2016, plans to build a £250m trolley bus network in Leeds were rejected by the Government, following a report from a planning inspector who said the scheme was “not in the public interest”.