The Yorkshire Party has outlined a radical change in transport policy for the county, involving a single authority to plan, manage and operate transport under the control of the Yorkshire Parliament.
The proposal – now published as a consultation document – is for an integrated transport system, designed to serve Yorkshire’s diverse areas and needs.
Among its recommendations are: investment in a rapid transport system; support for HS3, the proposed Northern Rail Network; maintenance of modern docks in Hull and Middlesbrough; establishment of an international airport; improvements to road, rail, cycle ways and footpaths; preparation for new technologies, including the electric cars, buses and lorries; linking transport through local interchanges and making journeys affordable with a single price structure across the county.
Today (March 23), he said: “The failure of the public transport system in Yorkshire – which includes roads, rail, and buses- is down to the incompetence of the Westminster parties and their short-term policies, which normally cover the length of a parliament.
“Once you take the politicians out of the equation, you then have the various transport bodies such as the Department for Transport, Network Rail, Highways England, Office of Rail and Road, local authorities, bus companies, and train companies – all competing for their share of money or power or both. This system is disjointed, costly and inefficient.
“Yorkshire needs a long-term transport strategy up to at least 2050. As part of that strategy we need a fully integrated transport system where one organisation is responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of highways, bridges, railways, buses, trains, trams, bicycle routes etc.
“Many prosperous cities and regions such as Vancouver, Hong Kong and Singapore have long-term strategies. These includes Mass Rapid Transport systems that are efficient and cost effective, both to run and for the passengers. That in turn attracts even more passengers. It also attracts investment around stations, which in turn regenerate run-down areas.
“These cities embrace new technologies such as hybrid, hydrogen and trolley buses to provide communities with safe and efficient transport. The tickets are affordable and the types of ticketing are simple, unlike the system in the various parts of Yorkshire.
“Such solutions bring many benefits, including lowering exhaust gases helping public health, reducing greenhouse gases and reducing the stress of travelling to work on traffic jammed roads. More importantly, this type of system would allow the Yorkshire to travel safely, efficiently and cost effectively.
“The road system in Yorkshire is a nightmare. Our suggested public transport system would remove passengers from cars and, therefore, reduce congestion on our roads.
“The road system, however, needs to be adequately managed and maintained. That is where the one transport authority comes into its own as railway bridges, road bridges, electric car recharging infrastructure, roads, cycling paths would be planned, built and maintained by one body creating one seamless process and reducing costs. This is in stark contrast with the competing organisations and local authorities we have at present.
“This type of system has been achieved elsewhere and is a tested solution. It just needs the political will and, of course, the money being devolved from Westminster. The Yorkshire Party has adopted such a radical approach and has proposed this type of transport system for Yorkshire.”
Philip Hardstone, Party policy co-ordinator, said of the plan: “This is a part of our long-term vision for Yorkshire, made possible by a Parliament for Yorkshire. We believe in a bottom-up approach to decision making, and, ultimately, it will be up to local people to decide what’s best for their local area within the overall strategy.”
Stewart Arnold, Yorkshire Party Leader, said: “Both major parties offer no solutions to Yorkshire’s problems. Whether it’s Tory incompetence at Westminster or a centralising Labour Party, neither have the ambition or indeed the interest in helping to create the change that’s needed in Yorkshire. There’s an alternative to the status quo: the Yorkshire Party.
“We are campaigning for nothing short of an economic, social and democratic renewal in our county; one that is long overdue. As part of that campaign we are developing a series of policies that will make the case for Yorkshire to have more say in setting its own priorities and spending its own money, and how we can make the change needed.
“Over the next weeks we will be publishing these policies and seeking your support in our campaign. Together, let’s build the case for a fairer, more prosperous Yorkshire for all.”