Bramley councillor warns of ‘real life’ impact of axing lifeline bus services

Cllr Tom Hinchcliffe raised bus problems in his maiden speech to council.

More people need to be convinced to make sustainable journeys around the city for the sake of our environment, a Bramley & Stanningley councillor warned in his maiden speech to council.

Councillor Tom Hinchcliffe (Lab) spoke about the need to encourage people out of their cars a meeting of all 99 councillors in Leeds Civic Hall – but spoke of difficulties of bus companies making decisions ‘motivated by profits’.

Speaking of his role on the council’s inner west community committee, Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “We want Leeds to be a city that offers comprehensive, sustainable and reliable transport which supports people in choosing to take the bus, train or to cycle – and it’s good to know that the community committee is committed to implementing that vision.

“This is not to say the private car has no role to play in the city’s transport – for some people it’s a crucial and necessary way to travel. But the more people we can convince to make journeys by sustainable travel, the better for our planet and the better for our air.

“But decisions made by private companies who are motivated by profits have real life, serious consequences. I was contacted by many Bramley and Stanningley residents who were contemplating leaving their jobs at the White Rose Centre and young people being forced to move colleges following First Bus’ decision to cut bus services in our community.

“After lengthy discussions with private companies, we were delighted to have secured further services for Bramley and Stanningley – namely, the number 9 service and 60 and 60A services which are now much more frequent. I’d like to pay tribute to the work of Labour’s Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin for the work she is doing on this issue.

“We want to go further but, Lord Mayor, we are operating with one arm tied behind our backs thanks to the lack of funding and interest in these issues from the Conservative government.

“The last Conservative manifesto said: ‘we will give city regions the funding to upgrade their bus, tram and train services to make them as good as London’s’. Well, where is it, Lord Mayor?

“In the face of this incompetence, I am positive about the work that our inner west community committee does, this council does and the mayor does and I look forward to seeing it progress.”

The Government says its National Bus Strategy aims to increase bus journeys, firstly by returning the overall number of journeys made by bus to pre-Covid levels and then to exceed it.

To achieve this, its plans to bring services across England closer to London standards, with more services, simpler and cheaper fares, more bus lanes and greener and more accessible buses. 

The inner west community committee is made up of nine Labour councillors from Armley, Bramley & Stanningley and Kirkstall wards, as well as a number of co-opted members of the public who do not have voting rights. More coverage from the committee can be found here.

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