Leeds City Council statement in response to possible cuts to the bus recovery grants.

Leeds City councillor Helen Hayden, executive member for infrastructure and climate, said:

“Our city is committed to be net zero by 2030 and aspires to be a city where you don’t need a car. Crucial to making this happen is an effective and reliable bus network.

“Over the last few years the council in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, bus operators and more recently with the West Yorkshire Mayor has worked tirelessly to deliver on our ambitions. Millions of pounds have been invested on better, environmentally friendly buses, and the creation of significant park and ride services across three sites with more planned. We’ve also installed extensive bus priority measures, improved passenger facilities and infrastructure across the city to help improve and promote the services for customers, recognising buses as the public transport priority in Leeds.

“To support bus travel during the pandemic, the government provided grants to help operators. In the current post-covid climate whilst bus patronage is still returning to what it was, alongside strains on household budgets due to the cost of living, is it really appropriate to withdraw the grant at this stage? If anything, we need additional funding and time to address the current service challenges. I would also say to operators that withdrawing services now is premature and that they should remember the important role that these services play for the people of Leeds.

“I know some Leeds residents and communities will be devastated if services are withdrawn. Many people are heavily dependent on them for work, access to job opportunities and learning. We need more funding to help the work we have started and to sustain the network, which is also vital for accessibility.

“We support the WY Mayor in calling on more support for buses in our city area.”

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