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Save our buses

Fair Fares Now

Roads to Nowhere

West and North Yorkshire Campaign for Better Transport

Area: North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire
Interests: Bus, Rail, Traffic
Contact: Ray Wilkes
Send them a message
Tel: 01274 403540

News for April 2018

We welcome people sharing our concerns and interests.

To contact us: Call Ray Wilkes on 01274 403540 or send us an online message.

You can also turn up at one of our free meetings advertised below.

10 April 2018
Methodist Mission, Oxford Place, Leeds, LS1 3AX
From 19:30 hours
Our Annual General Meeting: please support us by attending.

Rail Group Meetings
'Veritas' 43-47 Great George St, Leeds, LS1 3BB
Start at 19:30 on the following Mondays in 2018:

  • 9 April
  • 7 May
  • 25 June
  • 30 July
  • 10 September
  • 22 October
  • 3 December

Bus Group Meetings
'Caffe Nero's', 29a Bond Street Leeds, LS1 5HD. Next to Tesco.
Start at 17:30 on the following Tuesdays:

  • 29 May 2018
  • 17 July 2018

If you want to join us and don't know what we look like, call Mark on 07941 642349.

Railfuture meeting
Railfuture is a different group campaigning to improve our railways. The next Yorkshire Branch meeting is at the Yorkshire Children’s Centre, Brian Jackson House in Huddersfield HD1 5JP. Lucy Hudson will speak, she is the Lead Officer on Freight and Logistics at Transport for the North.

Call Mark for more details on 07941 642349

Leeds Civic Trust Air Quality Event

Six of us attended this interesting event with an expert panel. Presentations included the medical impact of NOX and NO2 emissions, the impact of car fumes and sales volumes of different types of cars, and an overview of the proposed clean zone in Leeds. We raised many questions, the first being the need to tackle car commuting which the clean air scheme does not include for several reasons given by the Council officers. We raised the need for a mass transit system in Leeds to attract people away from their cars. We also highlighted the enormous attributed costs of deaths and illnesses caused by diesel pollution. Concern was expressed by us that some smaller bus operators may withdraw services.

Work on implementing the Clean Air Zone, if approved, will begin in October 2018. The option currently being pushed by the Council involves charging diesel buses, coaches, taxis, heavy and light goods vehicles to enter an area bounded by the Outer Ring Road in the North and the Motorways in the South of Leeds. Vehicles with a euro 6 engine will not be charged and grants for conversions will be available. This scheme doesn’t quite get the City within the statutory limits, so further measures are necessary in the short term, and later further developments will be considered.

Pete Myers Updates us on Northern's Progress

Pete Myers

Northern's Eastern Region Stakeholder Manager updated us on 13 March about the future for Northern services. The 98 new 3 car trains are due by 2020 and many refurbished trains are now in service. With 2,000 extra services, including the new Northern Connect branding expected by 2019, he reflected how northern railways historically have had little investment.

But there have been problems recently, affecting performance. There is ongoing strike action over the driver operation of the doors. However, Northern is committed to retaining conductors for revenue collection as they bring in 40% of the revenue. The conductor is also needed to provide the ramps allowing wheel chair access. This action is a political issue and relations between Nothern's management and staff are reported as good.

Delays were experienced because of leaf fall, as this occurred earlier than expected last year. The resultant extra slipping contributed to extra demand on the wheel turning facilities. Then came the snow which delayed and cancelled services, but Northern was congratulated by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority for coping well.

The most fuel-efficient trains are the Pacers! But their axles pound the rails hard leading to higher track charges being paid to Network Rail. These will be withdrawn by 2019 with two going to Newcastle University for research?!?

The refurbished trains have new floors, new seats with more leg room, new walls and lighting. Retention tanks are being fitted to keep the toilet waste off the tracks. On the new trains the Drivers designed the cabs and the seats will be in line with the windows. These will be used mainly on the Calder Valley line and for the new Northern Connect services. They will go into service in December.

The smaller stations are to be prioritised for refurbishment with ticket machines where the footfall exceeds 3,000, new seats and waiting areas. This along with improved security, accessibility and green initiatives will be phased in until March 2020.

The delayed electrification project along the Bolton Corridor means diesel trains will still be required come the timetable change in May. The number of diesels is insufficient to cover this route and the extra services due to be introduced. So, some new services will be delayed. News on which services are affected is starting to filter through. The introduction of the Northern Connect brand will be in December 2019.

The current franchise lasts until 2025 during this time the subsidy to Northern will reduce from 80% to 20%. They are now permitted to work with local buses, this follows the competition challenge they faced at the start of their franchise. They are keen to work with bikes, car hire, car clubs and directions for taxis and walking.

Northern has introduced penalty fares increasing their revenue by 10%. This has cut the long queues of people waiting to pay on arrival at Leeds. Only revenue protection officers can issue fines with conductors still selling tickets on the trains. There is an appeals procedure.

Photo - Pete Myers addressing our group - by Mark Parry.

Your Membership

Please support us at our Annual General Meeting on 10 April. We are also looking for new committee members. If you would like to know what would be involved in this role, then please contact us.

Your membership is now due for renewal, and this year is different because of new data protection legislation. EVERYONE renewing or joining must complete our new membership form, no matter how you pay. Without this we will not be legally able to contact you with news and information. Please contact us to request a membership form if you do not have one already.