Over 80% of people and organisations that responded to its recent consultation on local bus services supported proposals for more easily accessible and reliable travel information, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee will hear at its Friday meeting.
Transport Committee members will also hear that 78% supported the need to develop modern, coherent and integrated bus services and there was 77% agreement that a low-carbon bus system that contributes to improved air quality, and integrated, affordable fares are needed.
Proposals for consistent and excellent customer service across the bus system and a single consistently-branded network also received support in excess of 70%.
The highest level of support for proposals set out in the Transport Strategy was over 90% with the lowest levels generally above 50%. Developing sustainable travel access to new developments scored 91% while improved rail and bus stations were supported by 90%.
Measures such as improving freight routes, road improvement schemes and using technology to improve travel information received support measuring between 80 and 90 percent.
Cllr Keith Wakefield, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee Chair said: “The fact we received over 5,000 responses to our Your Travel Your Say consultation leaves no doubt about transport’s importance in underpinning economic growth and the creation of new jobs.
“We are still awaiting the full, detailed analysis of the consultation responses and their implications for updating the draft Bus and Transport Strategies so that they have the maximum impact.
“We also need to ensure they are firmly aligned with the quick-wins and improvements new such as stations, more park and ride and investment in bus services announced by Leeds City Council this week.
“We then need to feed all the results into our Implementation Plans to ensure they underpin our City Region Strategic Economic Plan by connecting business and individuals with opportunities.”
There were almost 3,300 responses to the Bus Strategy Survey and over 1,700 responses to the Transport Strategy Survey, which took place over a 14-week period between July and October. Over 80 Your Travel Your Say drop-in sessions took place at venues across West Yorkshire as part of the process and people and groups were able to respond online.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority, undertook the consultations in partnership with district authorities and bus operators First West Yorkshire, Arriva and Transdev, as per of its work to produce new, 20-year West Yorkshire Bus and Transport strategies.
Councillor Wakefield continued: “Despite buses being by far the most highly use form of public transport in West Yorkshire, bus user don’t tend to get as prominent a voice as rail users and drivers which is why we worked hard to ensure we got the full range of views.
“We held meetings with business and young people’s groups and organisations representing disabled people and older people to ensure their views were represented. We also produced Braille, large print and Easy Read versions of the consultation materials, for user told us was ‘really useful and positive’, ‘brill’ and ‘excellent work’.
“It was interesting that people told us, unprompted, they wanted to see stronger proposals on using transport to achieve our economic and public health objectives, and climate change. People also recognised the need for greater investment in road, rail, bus, cycling and walking and their better integration.”
The Bus and Transport Strategies will support the targets contained in the Combined Authority and the LEP’s City Region Strategic Economic Plan’s aims of creating an additional 35,700 jobs for local people over the next 20 years, and growing the City Region economy at a faster rate than the national average. They will also be used to update the current West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan, setting out how a modern, effective and integrated transport system can help people make the journeys they need to for jobs, education and leisure.