Are bus services in south Leeds up to scratch? Have bus operators got a service which is just the ticket, or is it time for them to ring the bell and get off at the next stop?
Now’s the chance for you to have your say in our poll and post your comments and thoughts below.
Public transport in Leeds is in the news today. Councillors in Middleton and Belle Isle are urging West Yorkshire Metro colleagues to forge ahead with plans to make local bus services more accountable to the communities they serve.
Today Metro chiefs are considering whether to introduce Bus Quality Contracts to give greater public control over bus services.
Councillors Paul Truswell, Kim Groves and Judith Blake (Labour, Middleton Park) said some bus passengers in Middleton and Belle Isle were reaching the end of their tether with services that were often “chopped, changed, missing or late, with fares going through the roof.”
Councillor Truswell, who as Pudsey MP was one of a small group of Labour MPs who persuaded the last Labour Government to make implementing QBCs more feasible, said:
“The privatisation of services, so-called ‘bus deregulation’, in 1986 has been a disaster for cities like Leeds, and communities.
“Many services have disappeared in the pursuit of profit, leaving people disconnected from health, employment, education, shopping and social facilities. Too much of what’s left is unreliable and expensive. Many people have simply despaired of using the bus and have voted with their feet.
“We all suffer for this downward spiral, whether we depend directly on buses or not. If people give up on buses and resort to cars that means even greater congestion, traffic queues, pollution and rat running through residential neighbourhoods.”
Councillor Truswell quoted services like the 48 and 74/74A services serving Middleton and Belle Isle as examples of passengers’ poor experiences. He said:
“We’re not talking about the odd missing service, but what seems to be a systematic failure. It is time bus operators became more accountable.
“At the moment passengers, communities, Metro, Councillors and MPs can do little to tackle bus operators for their failures because there’s no contract to hold them to.
“Quality Contracts will spell out what bus operators must deliver. QCs are not a miracle cure for the damage caused over the last 26 years, but they will hopefully stop and reverse the rot.”
Bus operators are generally opposed to the plans.
First Bus, which operate services in West Yorkshire, told the BBC:
“It is a real shame for bus users in West Yorkshire that they have chosen to pursue an expensive, bureaucratic approach, rather than engage with operators on our plans which will quickly deliver benefits for passengers.
“Quality contracts are completely untried and we believe they will cost council tax payers money they don’t have at the moment.”
What do you think? Have your say in our just for fun poll and comments section below. You can also report public transport problems through the Fix my Transport website.