Travel investment on the agenda as funding is approved

Transport Committee approves plans for travel investment but warns of future cuts when government funding ends

Members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have heard of the impact the ending of government funding could affect bus services from October 2022.

A Sustainability Review of the network required by government has found that up to 62 routes could be affected and 11% of the current network would be financially unviable, with the potential to affect communities across West Yorkshire.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“The people of West Yorkshire deserve a service that reaches all our communities rather than only running the routes that make substantial profits. We cannot create a truly transformational bus network if we only stick to those routes that make the most money; there is a balance to be struck.

“We and government supported the bus companies throughout Covid. I hope they understand that they will need to take some of the financial strain in the future if we are to deliver our ambitious programme of investment in our region’s bus network.”

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee and Leader of Bradford Council, said:

“But government needs to play its part in supporting bus and rail companies and services, to keep our post-pandemic economic growth going. Over 10% of our network is at risk, which will have a profound effect on the region’s ability to sustain our recovery from the pandemic.

“We’re doing our part by investing in infrastructure, new ticket types and new buses. We’re investing in travel gateways, cycle routes, bus lanes and zero emission buses to help West Yorkshire reach net zero by 2038.

“Now we need government to continue their Covid support to the bus operators, and for the operators to work with us to get people back onto our buses.”

Travel investment

Among the other plans discussed by members was the Leeds Station Sustainable Travel Gateway (LSSTG) scheme, which seeks to provide a safe environment for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle users. It is the first phase of the Leeds Integrated Station Masterplan which will see a re-design and re-build of the station’s external concourse, installation of two new lifts and a 560-space cycle hub.

Another scheme, on Doncaster Road in Wakefield, a series of improvements to the A638 between Black Road and the A61 Barnsley Road at Chantry Bridge are planned. The scheme would provide improved bus lanes and bus stops in addition to new facilities for walking and cycling.

Members also heard about schemes being delivered as part of the Active Travel Fund. These will improve the cycling and walking environment in Bradford, Calderdale and Leeds, as well and funding an additional 24 Schools Streets areas across West Yorkshire.

The full agenda and papers, as well as a replay of the meeting, can be found in the Governance and Transparency section.