Bus shambles and how Leeds Council and Metro continue to fail passengers

From: Paul Kirby, Wetherby.

How can bus services in Leeds be improved?

LEEDS City Council and Metro, the West Yorkshire transport authority, have failed this city in the last 20 years.

The fact that we have no trams speaks for itself. There is not even a short route to Headingley, nor one between the bus and rail stations in Leeds. They have presided over a deteriorating transport infrastructure which is 100 per cent their responsibility, not the bus operators.

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Readers remain critical of Leeds leaders over public transport.

Just look at award-winning Nottingham to see how public transport can excel and is organised at a fraction of the cost of the ever-expanding bureaucracy that is West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

All former council leaders, transport committee members and managing directors of Metro should hang their heads in shame. But what are the councillors and public servants of today doing?

Apart from refusing to respond to simple questions from the public and laughably thinking they can run the buses, they are ripping up the Headrow in Leeds city centre, costing millions, and causing massive inconvenience to the buses for a whole year and a half. Just for a nicer environment, it seems to me.

Leeds Council leader Judith Blake and Ben Still, MD of the Combined Authority, clearly do not know what the word ‘integration’ means. Compare their plans to Switzerland, a country which has the best transport system in the world. Every Swiss town and city has the bus station immediately outside the rail station, and sometimes the train and bus are within a few feet of each other.

The online summary of the Leeds railway station scheme and its leaflet do not even contain the word ‘bus’. That says it all – farcical!

From: Elisabeth Baker, Leeds.

SOME readers will be familiar with the junction on the northbound A61 Harrogate Road/Scott Hall Road where a completely new road layout, with traffic lights instead of the roundabout, was completed about two months ago after two years of work and disruption.

When the new lighting was finished, two of the street lights failed to light and a workman told me there was a particular problem with these two.

I was pleased to see, about a fortnight ago, that these two were shining brightly. However, they stopped working after a few days and have remained off.

Concerned that the authorities might not know about this, I telephoned Leeds City Council’s highways department.

A recorded message told me to ring Scottish and Southern Electricity, which now deals with all Leeds lights.

But I waited to speak to someone in the department as I assumed this problem with the new junction would be of relevance to them.

However, the call handler to whom I spoke knew nothing about this junction (not even where it was) and just told me to ring SSE. She was not even prepared to make inquiries.

The gentleman to whom I then spoke at SSE was very helpful and, although he was in a national call centre, was able to check the junction on his system.

He made inquiries with another department there and was able to inform me that, because this was a problem with the new junction, it had already been referred to the contractors, Balfour Beatty.

Would it not be helpful if Leeds City Council briefed its employees better?

From: Holly Wilkinson, Hutton Rudby.

I JUST wanted to make you all aware that there are real fears amongst the communities in Stokesley, Great Ayton, Newton under Roseberry and Guisborough after Arriva announced it would be withdrawing the 81 bus from April 5.

This will mean that the people of Great Ayton will be almost cut off because there will only be two buses that go through the village, leaving Newton under Roseberry cut off completely.

This comes at a time where council tax is rising and services are being cut. The Government is telling us that we should watch our carbon footprint and use public transport, yet are removing funding for bus services in rural communities which are a lifeline to a lot of people.

If you want to know more then you can contact Great Ayton Parish Council. Residents have also contacted their relevant MPs and also North Yorkshire County Council.