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Save our buses

Fair Fares Now

Roads to Nowhere

West and North Yorkshire Campaign for Better Transport

Area: North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire
Interests: Bus, Rail, Traffic
Contact: Ray Wilkes
Send them a message
Tel: 01274 403540

News for January 2018

We welcome people sharing our concerns and interests.

To contact us: Call Ray Wilkes on 01274 403540 or send us an online message.

You can also turn up at one of our free meetings advertised below.

13 February 2018
Methodist Mission, Oxford Place, Leeds, LS1 3AX
From 19:30 hours
This meeting has been cancelled

13 March 2018
Methodist Mission, Oxford Place, Leeds, LS1 3AX
From 19:30 hours
Speaker: Pete Myers, Northern Rail's Stakeholder Manager

10 April 2018
Methodist Mission, Oxford Place, Leeds, LS1 3AX
From 19:30 hours
Our Annual General Meeting

Rail Group Meetings
'Veritas' 43-47 Great George St, Leeds, LS1 3BB
Start at 19:30 on the following Mondays in 2018:

  • 29 January
  • 5 March
  • 9 April
  • 7 May
  • 25 June
  • 30 July
  • 10 September
  • 22 October
  • 3 December

Bus Group Meetings
'Caffe Nero's', 29a Bond Street Leeds, LS1 5HD. Next to Tesco.
Start at 17:30 on the following Tuesdays:

  • 16 January 2018
  • 20 March 2018

If you want to join us and don't know what we look like, call Mark on 07941 642349.

Railfuture meetings
Railfuture is a different group campaigning to improve our railways.
The next Yorkshire Branch meeting & Annual General Meeting is On 20 January at 13:00
The Carlton Centre Halifax, HX1 2AD
Call Mark for more details on 07941 642349

Bus Group Deputation to Leeds City Council

We were the second deputation on 8 November 2017. Our presentation was a follow up to a report Peter Dixon, in our group, produced on suggestions to ease the flow of buses across Leeds City Centre. Our speech went down well, and it was agreed to forward it to the relevant officers. Afterwards several councillors came out to discuss this with us, including Keith Wakefield, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, Richard Lewis and three other councillors; which was encouraging.

Paul Matthews on 'BUS 18'

Paul MatthewsFIRST’s West Yorkshire Managing Director, Paul Matthews addressed our group on 10 October. His report on First Leeds was satisfactory, but could do much better. He said there had been a poor relationship between First and Metro in the past, this was because of frequent fares increases and service cuts. In fact, he didn’t want to join First, originally, because of its poor reputation. However, the relationship between First and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority is good and has improved things.

For some time, the bus operators wanted to form a partnership agreement with the Combined Authority. A franchise arrangement has also been considered by the Combined Authority. But First does not want to lose control and the Authority cannot afford a franchise agreement. So “BUS 18” was born involving all the Operators and the Authority working together. Bus 18 refers to what can be done by 2018, for example, they have started by reviewing ticketing and air quality. There will be more consultations on major changes to services.

Looking beyond 2018, First Bus is investing nearly all of its capital investment on new buses for Leeds. The first batch of these will appear on route 1 and 6 soon. These will have wifi etc as well as better seats and Euro 6 engines. Electric vehicles are still a future possibility. He thinks the target of doubling the number of passengers in 10 years is possible.

Paul accepts light rail is appropriate for Leeds, but has reservations on the cost as this could be put to good effect on the bus network. The recent driver shortages have been resolved by offering new rotas to new drivers. By the time this goes to press there should new faster ticket machines installed accepting contactless payments.

Photo by Mark Parry

Ben Still – Managing Director of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Ben StillWe were pleased to have Ben Still address us on 14 November, when he outlined the structure of the Combined Authority and its work. The Combined Authority consists of the five West Yorkshire district council leaders and the council leader of York; plus, two others for political balance. The Passenger Transport Authority no longer exists. The Local Enterprise Partnership is a public private partnership of political leaders from the Combined Authority and private enterprise leaders. It can only spend money through the Combined Authority which deals with Economic Development including transport. Around 400 officers support the two boards and they, along with Ben, are accountable to the politicians.

On buses, the lack of a Mayor means the Combined Authority has limited powers under the new Bus Bill. Ben repeated much of what Paul Matthews said in October regarding the relations with bus companies and the need for the Bus 18 initiative, see above. The Combined Authority is looking at setting up an enhanced partnership with bus operators. He noted that the operators are losing money and the threat of Uber taxis. They are considering changing the nature of bus services.

The money made available after the collapse of the Trolley Bus Project went to the Combined Authority to be spent in the same instalments in Leeds. The funds cannot be used for a tram scheme and any projects over £50 million need to meet extra requirements. So, the money is to be spent on smaller bus based schemes, which led to the Bus Strategy. However, some of the money is also to be used to pay for feasibility studies for new rail stations in Leeds and to assess what a mass transit system for Leeds might look like.

Transport for the North is Government funded and is like a super Local Enterprise Partnership. It was never designed to replicate Transport for London. The Secretary of State for Transport has the final say on all spending and sits on the Board. Transport for the North has bold pans for the Northern Rail Network, with major upgrades and new lines to help form a single northern labour market with improved productivity. £150 million is being spent to deliver smart cards across the North. The rebuilding of Leeds Station would include High Speed 2 and a possible mass transit system. The Northern politicians have already helped secure the forthcoming new carriages in the North and we look forward to soon hearing of the plans for the Trans-Pennine line.

During questions we asked Ben to get the Combined Authority to re-consider the controversial withdrawal of the paper bus route maps.

Photo by Mark Parry