By Chris Young, local democracy reporter
Additional reporting: John Baron
A mass transit line linking Bradford to Leeds is one of the first routes to be developed, according to a public consultation. into the West Yorkshire-wide proposals.
That route will include stops at Bradford Forster Square and the proposed new city centre Northern Powerhouse Rail line in Bradford as well as Laisterdyke, Pudsey, Bramley, Wortley and Leeds.
The consultation says construction on the first stage of the plan – which will include the Bradford to Leeds line and the Bradford to Dewsbury line – will begin in the late 2020s, and be completed in the early 2030s.
It is yet to be decided what type of vehicle would be used for this huge county-wide public transport network but it could be one or more of modern, high-capacity buses, trams and tram-train vehicles. The entire scheme may not be finished until 2040.
A report into the proposals states: “Armley and Wortley, close to Leeds city centre, and Laisterdyke, close to Bradford city centre, are priority areas for economic support and regeneration. The communities in the corridor have a number of employment sites, including at Stanningley.”
A consultation into the planned public transport system, which will link Leeds, Calderdale, Wakefield and Bradford, will last until January 16.
There are also plans for a Bradford/North West Leeds line, which will include stops at Frizinghall, Shipley, Baildon, Guiseley and Otley, and a branch that will run to Apperley Bridge and Leeds Bradford Airport.
The multi-billion pound plans have already gone out to consultation last year, and a second round has now begun.
Detailed route options including roads, disused railways and new routes will be consulted upon as a next stage and will be shaped by the feedback through this engagement.
The network will be funded and developed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which will use some of its £830 million City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement to develop the plan.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “This is another step forward for our ambitious mass transit project, which will truly transform our region by linking communities with quick, reliable and integrated transport services.
“At a time of instability and chaos in Westminster, it is vital that the new Government renews their commitment to the West Yorkshire Mass Transit system so that we can continue to progress this important work with confidence.”
The combined authority, which covers all the West Yorkshire district councils, set out its vision in its Transport Strategy 2040 document saying for the region’s economy to thrive and grow in a way that benefits everyone living and working here, the “right transport system had to be in place”.
According to the document: “To deliver that vision, we need a transport network that connects businesses to customers and suppliers, that links people to education, training and fulfilling employment opportunities, that supports the building of much needed, affordable new homes and makes possible the regeneration and development of industrial land and that minimises emissions that are harmful to our environment.”
The document says the proposals won’t make the same mistakes as previous failed attempts such as Supertram and NGT made: “It is important that we learn the lessons of the past, but also focus on the needs of the region moving forwards.
“The Connectivity Plan and Mass Transit vision are looking at the future transport needs of West Yorkshire, where jobs and housing growth will be and the communities that most need better connections. We have also looked at technological developments so we can maximise the positive benefits when we choose the appropriate solutions for West Yorkshire.
You can take part in the consultation here.