Sign of the times

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THE Chancellor’s welcome acknowledgement of the poor state of this region’s transport infrastructure should lead to improved roads and railways in the longer-term, although the question is when funding will become available.

A more immediate concern is the potentially avoidable delays that are caused by poorly planned roadworks – whether it be repairs over-running or utility companies failing to co-ordinate their work so the same route has to be dug up on countless occasions. As well as being a waste of money, it simply exasperates those drivers who have seen motoring costs reach record levels.

This annoyance should, thankfully, come to an end in those six local authority areas across Yorkshire where utility companies will require a permit before they start digging up roads. It is a common sense move, one with next to no cost to the taxpayer, that will make these firms more aware of their responsibilities to the wider public, and ensure planned works are completed on schedule.

Yet this must not preclude these organisations from providing clear signs explaining the nature and duration of the week – the reason so many people are so exasperated with transport policy in this country is a chronic lack of communication.

It is the same on the railways where Yorkshire’s train operators have been given disappointing ratings in the latest customer satisfaction survey. Until new rolling stock is introduced, overcrowding will persist – despite the relentless rises in fares. But passengers might – just – be able to accept this if they’re given an explanation for trains that are shorter than expected or have been unexpectedly delayed. Yet, on too many occasions, the travelling public are treated with contempt, a mindset that needs to change on both the roads and the railways.