AS YORKSHIRE welcomes hundreds of guests from Australia who are attending the Ashes Test in Leeds and Ebor Festival at York, it appears many are not enamoured with the state of public transport here.
Unlike cities like Melbourne and Sydney where transit lines serve major sporting venues, links here mean many more spectators than necessary have to use their car when attending large sporting or cultural events.
And this is before Network Rail totally failed to consult organisers over this weekend’s closure of the East Coast Main Line between King’s Cross and Peterborough – an oversight that would not have been allowed, or tolerated, in many other countries.
As such, this is the embarrassing backdrop to West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s decision to consult global experts on how best to develop a mass transit system for Leeds City Region – the largest metropolitan area in Europe without such a form of transport.
Given how all previous attempts, from the Leeds Supertram to the trolleybus scheme, have hit the buffers, expectations are understandably very low. It is also an admission by WYCA that it does not have the necessary expertise in spite of a significant expansion to its taxpayer-funded workforce.
Yet, as the debate progresses, policy-makers need to make public transport provision integral to all future residential and commercial developments from the outset. It will be a start – of sorts – after the warning from environmentalists that the car-dependency culture will need to be curtailed if future climate change targets are to be met.