£173m public transport fund will boost Leeds economy
A funding package worth more than £170m will introduce cutting-edge public transport facilities to boost jobs and the economy in Leeds.
The city will benefit from high frequency ‘busways’, improved park and ride and better stops and signs.
Transport minister Andrew Jones has confirmed the £173.5 million investment, which includes new integrated bus corridors, including segregated lanes and real time information for passengers making journeys in and around the city centre.
Jones said: “New segregated bus corridors and investment in park and ride schemes will be a huge benefit to people who live and work in Leeds, and those who visit the city.
“This investment will make public transport in Leeds more accessible and reduce journey times.
“Better transport facilities don’t just help people get around, they help them get on – connecting them to jobs and helping to deliver economic growth in the North.”
Commuters will see more reliable journeys, and better travel information, with a focus on improving the daily experience of bus users.
Covering a four-year period, funding will allow Leeds to develop proposals for local rail improvements, subject to wider rail industry consultation.
Leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake added: “We are delighted that the Department for Transport has given its support for our plans which have the potential to transform public transport in Leeds, with improvements we can deliver in the coming years in keeping with what the people of Leeds told us they want to see.
“That is making it quicker and easier for everyone to be able to move around the city as well as connecting people and businesses to places and jobs, increasing productivity and supporting major economic growth areas.
“West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Chair Councillor Keith Wakefield said: “These plans to build on successful developments on the county’s rail and bus networks are in line with the combined authority’s aim of developing a modern integrated transport network that benefits the whole of Leeds City Region.”
In addition, First Group have agreed in principle to commit £71 million to providing 284 new low emission buses by 2020 for use in Leeds.
Managing Director of First West Yorkshire Paul Matthews said: “Today’s announcement is the first major step towards transforming Leeds’s transport network and I’m proud that First West Yorkshire is a pivotal part of this.
“We remain committed to our pledge to invest £71 million in ultra-low emission vehicles by the end of 2020, but it’s hugely important that we continue to work in partnership with Leeds City Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority so that we can tackle the issue of congestion thereby improving the reliability of services and encouraging even more people to travel by bus.”