Check out today’s YEP letters
‘Horrendous fares rises and declining service’
Passengers have demanded an overhaul of Leeds’ public transport system as late and cancelled buses wreak havoc on their daily lives.The call follows comments by Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake who told a meeting of Leeds businesspeople that residents in her ward said they had lost their jobs due to buses being late. The YEP asked readers about their own experiences of using public transport and people responded in their hundreds to highlight problems. Here are some of their responses.
It’s laughable to introduce a congestion charge without a viable alternative.
The city is working towards an integrated solution involving park and ride, but it’s not fully ready yet and as a single measure it’s not enough. The city centre of Leeds is technically one big bus station. Aside from Briggate every main street is full of bus stops. There simply isn’t enough space in the city centre for cars, service vehicles, taxis, buses and people. Roads get clogged with waiting buses and this has a knock on effect on times and timetables. Something has to give and I would like to see four transport hubs on sites around the edge of the city centre with a free bus running out to these hubs. Get the park and rides open, THEN congestion charge. The whole thing would then click like clockwork and the city centre wouldn’t feel oppressive, manic, polluted and would be that bit more pedestrian friendly.
Would you take two buses if it shortened your journey time? I would.
Brian Berry, Leeds 9
Until a few days ago I used to ride all three services Transdev, Arriva, and First to commute to my job. It is important to note this journey via cab, even in heavy traffic on the A64, takes no more than 20 minutes.
When I started the job, I could get to work in about an hour and return journey, if everything came together, I could be home in just about 35 minutes. As the bus companies made their “schedule updates,” my journey time slowly increased. Arriva changed their morning schedule which left me either sitting in the cold bus station for up to 40 minutes waiting for my connecting bus or arriving to work 45 minutes early
My travel time significantly increased from as little as 35 minutes returning to up to 1.5 hours. So how do you go from 35 minutes to 1.5 hours? Answer is cancellations and city centre traffic. Just over a week ago I left my job, in part because of the increased journey times, and I am now taking driving lessons so I can drive to end the misery on the buses. Until then I have a new job at Quarry House. The job is much closer but it means I do not have the luxury of travelling on two of the better services in Leeds, Arriva and Transdev. Now I am a prisoner on First. The buses are packed over-capacity, they are old, and do not run on time. It is a horrible journey that I do not wish on one. As I read the comments and the articles regarding the bus service, I tend to disagree Arriva is bad. From my experience Arriva buses can run late, due to heavy traffic, but rarely are the services cancelled. Plus Arriva’s buses are relatively newer than First and more comfortable. In my opinion the best service in Leeds is Transdev. In my opinion, the biggest problem with bus service is First. From my many years using First it is a tired brand that puts, I believe, profit and shareholders over customers. I am a strong believer that quality contract scheme is the way forward and hold First accountable. Without giving customers a voice in bus service First will continue to hold residents of Leeds hostage with horrendous fares rises that delivers declining quality of service.
K Matharu, by email
I catch the 42 bus service from Fearnville to Leeds city centre and have lost count the amount of times I have had to run out my house, half dressed because I’ve checked the buses and seen that two buses are cancelled back to back around 8.10-8.20, the time most people should be able to get the bus to start work at 9am.
There’s only so many times my boss will accept that the bus was late or didn’t turn up because its a ridiculous notion that a bus service cannot seem to run on time and to the timetable they have given.
Prices are ridiculous as well, its costs me £60 a month to get the bus to work and it’s annoying when I have to then shell out for a taxi when I know the bus (when it decides to show up) will not get me to work on time.How is it Leeds, is one of the best cities in the country, the biggest legal and financial district outside London, boasts an amazing history with the world, has successfully held a world triathlon, the Tour De France and has produced some of the best athletes to complete in the Olympics but cannot manage to successfully get its residents to and from their workplaces without wanting to rip their hair out?
It’s not just the buses, the council over three decades has failed on sorting out increased road congestion. Failed on every attempt to look at an alternative transport system. So in tandem First need to improve and improve some of its drivers’ service skills, majority are very good. But the council needs to urgently act on congestion not have another two year review and do nothing.
I now walk to work, which takes an hour rather than wait for the bus that either doesn’t show up, is ridiculously late or just drives past because it’s so full (usually due to the earlier bus not showing up). I won’t even start on the number of times a bus driver has taken a different route when there isn’t a diversion.
I used to take the first bus from Morley town hall at 5.15 and it was hit and miss. I had shop to open at 6.30 - had to be in Merrion Centre at 6 am - luckily there was arriva bus at 5.20 so when the first bus was late/cancelled I still have another option (if that one turn up too) rather than paying for a taxi.
It’s ridiculous if you already have weekly/monthly rider you have to pay extra for another service just to get yourself to work. I don’t blame people who drive. Not even mentioning how it stresses you if your bus is going to turn up or not first thing in the morning.
First buses have been getting worse for a long time now.Continued price rises with a sub standard service is just not good enough in my eyes. Where is our money going? Certainly not a reliable bus service that is for sure.
This service in Leeds is third class. It is totally out of touch with the customers , arriving late or the other extreme three or four buses all together, cut the ticket prices, run buses on time and more people may travel on them instead of using their own transport.
I have always used public transport as I don’t drive, if I did there is no way I would use the buses, my bus service is disgraceful. I have been to meetings including councillors, Metro and First bus, all you get from the council and Metro is complain. We have been complaining to them all for years and the only thing that happens is the service gets worse. They just seem to be playing games with each other at the expense of the general public and the city of Leeds.
Nothing is going to change with this until we get a rapid transport that doesn’t integrate with normal traffic, (monorail etc). You can overhaul buses all you want but while they are stuck in traffic it won’t change. The quicker the council gets this into their heads the better.
The roads are completely jammed with cars at peak times. Until Leeds has proper bus lanes the buses will run late, it’s not rocket science.
David Blair Ivers
These bus companies need to be fined when they are so late and also there needs to be a cap on the fares but that will never happen. It’s just away to keep the working class down, but if you can get buses to run on time productivity goes up which will boost the economy.
The buses need to get way better, an Oyster style system would be great. I think the city needs a light rail or tram type system too.
The buses are late, or miss, because there is too much traffic. There is too much traffic because the buses are late, or miss.