Better Transport in Yorkshire



  1. Introduction

Travel – one of the most basic needs of everyday life – has gone so badly wrong in modern Yorkshire. Whether it is for work, for business, for shopping, for schooling, for health or for leisure: our people need a convenient, safe, reliable and cheap way to get about. Yet, public transport is unreliable and unco-ordinated.

One operator fails to recognise a rival’s tickets, services are too often disjointed, infrequent, end early and don’t run at all on Sundays. And, in too many rural areas, transport is non-existent. We want a network that allows all to travel where and when they want, and so to experience life to the fullest, whatever their age or financial circumstances.

Like all Yorkshire Party policies, our transport strategy focuses on equality of opportunity and inclusiveness. They are the two overriding factors in the difference the Party seeks to make to the lives of the people of Yorkshire.

This document forms part of the Yorkshire Party Vision for 2050. The Vision outlines that which the Yorkshire Party believes it is possible to achieve under a devolved parliament.

The Yorkshire Party proposes a radical change in policy and implementation across the county. This involves a single transport authority that would plan, manage and operate transport under the control of the Yorkshire Parliament.

 In this document, we establish the outline of our long-term strategy for an integrated transport system and single transport authority, responsible for the whole of Yorkshire. To develop this strategy, we have considered successful schemes and policies elsewhere and have expanded on their experiences. Yorkshire is unique and we need to build a transport system appropriate to our diverse and rich environmental landscape and the aspirations of our people.

The proposals are an outline of our overall strategy. Final say on individual areas and schemes must be given to those living and working within each area.


  1. Our Objectives

Our objective is to create a diverse, yet fully integrated, public transport system that connects and serves the people living and working in every city, town and rural area across the county. This ensures that Yorkshire citizens are able to live and work effectively within the region, whatever their age or circumstances.

Such a transport system is of key importance to other measures, including improved social inclusion and health, and helping to improve the environment and the prosperity of our county.


  1. A Prosperous Yorkshire

Yorkshire has one of the lowest gross domestic products per head in Western Europe. Consequently, the county requires a vibrant economy to secure its long-term future. A modern, diverse and effective transport system is an essential element in the development of such an economy. A fully integrated system is vital to raise the competitiveness of businesses and the county’s overall prosperity.

The existing transport infrastructure slows the growth of the Yorkshire economy. It limits people and businesses, harming their potential for growth and expansion. We aim to revolutionise Yorkshire’s transport system to ensure it is comparable with the best systems across the world. However, it is vital that this revolution is sensitive to Yorkshire’s beautiful environment and cultural heritage.

Businesses rely on an effective transportation system to develop and expand. The mobility of employees and potential employees is a key concern for companies across Yorkshire, as too are the number of working hours lost to inadequate transport networks each year. Companies also depend on the freight capacity of the county’s network and, therefore, any revolutionised system must accommodate freight efficiently. This includes the provision of storage depots and other facilities.

Young people are crucial to the development of a prosperous Yorkshire. To achieve their maximum potential and contribute to the economy, they must be freed from the restrictions place upon them. They must be able to travel easily, enabling them to receive a quality education in the first instance and to accept relevant jobs in the future. Reasonable commuting times are vital to ensuring the wellbeing of both employees and the Yorkshire economy.

The creation of this innovative transport system will create valuable skilled jobs in Yorkshire’s construction and engineering industries, along with the services sector. These jobs should, in turn, support the local economy. We plan to achieve this by utilising the expertise of a variety of suppliers, and breaking contract tenders into small units that are more attractive to local small and medium companies and third-sector organisations. This is in line with the proposals in our 2017 manifesto.


  1. Engaging Stakeholders

The key to developing an effective strategy, regionally and locally, is comprehensive engagement with local stakeholders. Consequently, we will engage with community organisations, councils, businesses, the health service, care providers, voluntary organisations and the public.

Each stage of development will require expertise and careful discussion. We will bring together engineers and stakeholders to discuss and decide the requirements of each location as well as the wider network. This is in line with the bottom-up approach we have long advocated. These processes will be established in further detail in our ‘People’s Charter’ to be published shortly.


  1. Our Proposals
  • We intend to invest in a rapid transport system that has proved to be effective in other urban communities across the world. As such, this offers extensive opportunities for us. We anticipate that interest in this option would be high and, therefore, these innovations may benefit other areas.


  • We welcome HS3, the proposed Northern Rail Network. To illustrate, the economic benefits of reduced travel times such as Leeds to Bradford (seven minutes), Sheffield to Leeds (20 minutes) and Hull to Manchester (about 60 minutes) will be huge.


  • International travel is also important. We will strengthen our ties with Continental Europe by maintaining modern docks in Hull and Middlesbrough. We will strengthen our links with the rest of the world by building a modern international airport to rival of that of Manchester.


  • We will improve more traditional means of transport including road, rail, cycle ways and pedestrian footpaths. Examples include:

 o Reopening closed railway lines, such as the Beverley and York line (eventually travelling on to Hull). Reopening this line will have a huge impact in the East Riding, not least on the road traffic on the A1079.

o Much-needed improvements to the track on the East Coast Mainline to Middlesbrough. Improvements to this line will provide both an economic and social boost to North Yorkshire.

o Opening the Queensbury Tunnel to provide a safe cycle route between Halifax and Bradford.

o Encouraging the development of innovative business models such as ‘The Little White Bus Company’. This Hawes’ company provides the residents of Wensleydale with an invaluable service and enables those who would otherwise be isolated in their homes to improve their quality of life.


  • We will prepare for new technologies, including the advancement of electric cars, buses and lorries. We shall continue to work with engineers to seek innovative ways of improving our transport network to make it faster, more reliable, safer and environmentally friendly.


  • Each mode of transport will be linked by a series of local interchanges that are not only conveniently placed for travellers but safe and comfortable to use. These interchanges will be built within the style of the existing architectural landscape of each area. This will assist in preserving Yorkshire’s rich and unique heritage.


  • Transport must be affordable. We will introduce a single pricing mechanism across the county. This will continue to allow for discounts for children, older people and students travelling on the network.


  • Citizens will be able to pay fares using a smartcard, similar to the Oyster Card supplied by Transport for London. This will make it much simpler to travel.


  1. Delivery

Our belief is that the effective running of our transport system is both an essential public service and an essential contributor to the economic wellbeing of our county.

Under the current system, a number of large transport providers are driven solely by profit and are permitted to pick only profitable routes. A side-effect of this is the abandonment of people and businesses in rural areas. We are determined that contracts that fail to work in the public interest should be brought back in public control.

Equally, we recognise that there are various aspects of the network development and implementation where it would be appropriate to put out to tender and encourage small and medium sized local businesses to submit bids. These include route management, construction, maintenance, cleaning and catering. This process would boost the local economy.


  1. Guiding Principles

Our guiding principle is to improve the quality of life and opportunities for all our people, whatever their age, background or aspirations. With that in mind, we accept the following:


  1. The network must be accessible. All buses and trains, stops and interchanges, and related walking routes must be designed in such a way that everybody feels comfortable using them and is able to do so without difficulty.
  2. The network must be affordable. People should not be ‘priced out’ of using public transport because of high fares.
  3. If more people used public transport instead of their cars, it would lead to a healthier Yorkshire including less pollution and less transport congestion. People will do this, however, only if they find public transport acceptable to their chosen lifestyle. This includes being equipped to meet their needs, as well as being comfortable, reliable, safe, convenient and competitively priced.


  1. Governance

Currently, various bodies are responsible for transport across Yorkshire. This is not only confusing, but is inefficient and duplicates costs.

We will create a single transport authority. It will be directly accountable to the Yorkshire Parliament and will be responsible for the construction, maintenance and operation of all aspects of transport. Its role will involve drawing the integrated transport system together and ensuring that appropriate links are made. It will be responsible for holding all projects across Yorkshire to the same high standards and improving them where necessary and appropriate.

The delivery of this integrated and affordable transport network to every corner of the country will boost Yorkshire’s economy and protect our environment.


  1. Next Steps

This strategy will become possible only with:

o the right level of investment

o a Parliament for Yorkshire

o the political will of the Yorkshire Party


Our next step is to consult the Yorkshire Party Local Branches and local community groups. This will enable us to develop a fuller picture of the quality of public transport, including the challenges people face, and their proposed improvements to the network.

We are on the eve of potentially exciting technological breakthroughs in motoring. The Yorkshire Party will address private transport issues – car use, goods traffic, highways and related issues in a separate policy document.


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