LEEDS is a city of buses.
We may have the busiest railway station outside London, but it’s the bus that gets people around the city and brings them in from the edges.
We’re also a city which has a growing economy and aspirations to tempt more and more businesses to relocate here from around the UK and beyond.
We have the skills and the workforce here to service those businesses but we cannot let it fail because of transport. That’s why it’s so vital to get it right and it has to start with the basics.
That’s why the YEP is looking in-depth at the issue this week. We’ve had hundreds of comments from our readers, some of which we’ve already put to the bus companies and the council. We’ll be putting more questions to them, on your behalf, later.
For the leader of Leeds City Council to stand up at a meeting of businesspeople and telling them that her constituents were losing their jobs, or facing the sack, because they could not rely on the bus service to get to work on time CANNOT be ignored.
She candidly told them: “If you are waiting for a service that is late or doesn’t come at all, the confidence people have in that service inevitably drops and it can cause major problems for those people who rely on those services as part of their daily lives.
“Buses are a commercial organisation and what we are saying is ‘actually it’s a social service, a service for people, and it should be run in terms of people’s needs’.
“Because of the privatisation of the bus service it is difficult so we’re trying to work with the bus companies to serve the people’s needs.”
And we agree. The question that HAS to be faced is why are the buses unreliable. Are there too few of them? Is it congestion? Is the timetable unrealistic? Are there not enough bus lanes?
Organising customer consultation is easy - just ask on social media! One Facebook post on the YEP’s page brought over 300 comments. Most said the same thing: the bus service is simply not reliable.
The YEP does not know what the answer to this problem is but we do want to help bring those together who can find a solution.
Investing £71m on new state-of-the-art buses is great - but if they don’t run on time it will be a total waste of brass!