£180million bus improvements in new transport plan for Leeds

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A major investment of more than £180m in bus services in Leeds has been proposed, Leeds City Council has announced. The improvements are designed to double passenger numbers within 10 years and improve air quality.

The details were revealed as part of the new Leeds Transport Strategy, which would see a total of £270m of improvements made to the public transport networks in the city. Leeds City Council has confirmed significant investment is proposed to transform bus services.

Operator First West Yorkshire has pledged to invest £71m to provide 284 new buses for its Leeds fleet by the end of 2020.

This will offer a better passenger experience as well as the new buses being Euro 6 or zero-emissions vehicles which will improve air quality in the city by reducing NOx emissions by 87%. Leeds City Council is also in talks with other bus operators about additional investment in their services.

The new buses would be complemented by infrastructure improvements part-funded from the £173.5m of Department of Transport funding secured following the decision not to proceed with the New Generation Transport (NGT) trolleybus in May, with the funds needing to be invested in public transport before the end of 2021.

Additional public and private investment would also be available, such as from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and developer contributions.

The proposed improvements include:

  • Over 90% of services on the core bus network to run at 10-minute frequency, along with more frequent early evening services;
  •  Additional bus priority measures on key corridors including the A61/A639 South, A61 North, A660, A58 north east and A647 to ease congestion and improve bus journey times and reliability;
  •  A new Park & Ride site at Stourton with an express bus serving the city centre, along with a further new site in north Leeds and Temple Green which opens next year;
  •  The current Elland Road Park & Ride service to continue to be expanded and for it to link with other parts of the city;
  •  A focus on improving local bus journeys to improve connectivity between communities and neighbourhoods;
  •  Use of new smart technologies to improve ticketing, boarding and waiting times using real-time updated displays and information to generate increased network capacity, along with free WiFi on all new buses;
  •  Bus stops across the city to be improved, with 1,000 more offering real-time information on services; and

Improvements at Leeds Bus Station and enhanced district hubs across the city as part of a more integrated bus network connecting with community services.

Paul Matthews, Managing Director for First West Yorkshire, said: “As one of the largest bus operators in Leeds, we are delighted to be able to advance our significant investment, which alongside the commitments of Leeds City Council, will dramatically change the customer experience for bus travel, and as a result, we believe that doubling passenger numbers in the next 10 years is achievable.”