Agenda item

Update on the development of the WY Mass Transit Network

The report of the Interim Head of Place and Consents - Mass Transit, provides an update on the West Yorkshire Mass Transit Programme.



The report of the of the Interim Head of Place and Consents - Mass Transit, provided an update on the West Yorkshire Mass Transit Programme.


Stacey White, the Interim Head of Place and Consents - Mass Transit, West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) presented the report and highlighted the following information:

·  Although it was noted that West Yorkshire was a great place to live and work, the poor connectivity between areas limits opportunities and applied to both urban and rural settings. Mass transit was to integrate travel and improve the system.

·  The purposeful aim of the development of the network was to provide affordable and efficient transport, allow behavioural changes by improving walking and cycling infrastructure, clearer travel information, a single ticket across different public transport methods and an environment first approach, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2038, alongside WYCA’s declaration.

·  The approach was to be phased, with Leeds and Bradford city centres as dedicated hubs, considered to be the heart of the system, with concentrated business, commercial and leisure options. Phase one was to develop a Leeds line and a Bradford line.

·  The Leeds line was proposed between St. James’s Hospital and the White Rose Shopping Centre, with other important locations considered. The line was part of a wider regeneration plan, linking the regional centre with key housing growth and regeneration areas to the south. Work will then be conducted in consultation with Kirklees Council to create a future case to connect towards Dewsbury.

·  The Bradford line was to connect Leeds Station to Bradford centre stations, with the location for a new Bradford train station to be confirmed. The line was to complement the electrified rail system between the cities and was to create a more efficient inner city link.

·  A strategic outline case was to be submitted to the Department for Transport, with a public consultation agreed over summer 2024. Commencement for construction of phase one was estimated as 2028.

·  The sustainability strategy was to be all encompassing for planning, design, construction and operation, outcomes were established to track targets which guide design and decision making, international accreditation, such as PAS 2080:2023, was sought and four main pillars were proposed, transport, environmental, social and economic.

·  Details for the transport pillar were outlined as providing a modern transport system for the region, increased capacity, reliable service, weather adaptability, increased uptake and improved travel information.

·  The environment pillar focused on increased air quality, reduced waste, reduced energy output, increased bio-diversity, flood resilience, use of renewable energy with progress to be monitored.

·  The social pillar sought to provide health and wellbeing benefits through provision of green spaces, employment opportunities, supporting the regional economy, high construction standards, and strategizing design to provide accessibility for all people, reducing barriers to travel access and improving integration between historically less served areas.

·  The economic pillar was for education access, housing, productivity leading to economic recovery and growth, finding digital solutions with outcomes as supporting regeneration with mass transit as a catalyst for regeneration.

·  Ticketing was to be good value for money and provide a fair, equitable fare across different travel options.

·  The progress of sustainability was noted at this stage, as incorporated into the design principle and a key focus for the public consultation. Targets and indicators were being set, outlining strategic priorities, developing monitoring framework with the ability to use existing data to inform and shape a good system.

·  Further information on the scheme was available at Mass Transit West Yorkshire - West Yorkshire Combined Authority ( interested parties were able to sign up for updates via Your Voice ( and email inquiries could be sent to


During discussions the Committee discussed the following:

  • The renewable energy regeneration approach was supported by Members and requested to be updated on this part of the scheme as it developed.
  • In order to link into employment and skills and green infrastructure jobs, it was noted that there was interest in creating links with education institutions across the region and influence over curriculums was important to train and retain staff.
  • As tram and trolley bus proposals had previously been discussed in Leeds, it was noted that mass transit differed as it was focused on the West Yorkshire region and integrated many forms of transport. Trams may be a part of the scheme, with a local transport plan (LTP4) report considered by WYCA.
  • As the delivery of mass transit was many years away, the impact of the re-franchising of the buses across the region was queried. In response it was noted that it was considered positive to deliver integration with buses as a feeder service to transport hubs. Potential delays to delivery were requirements for funding as planning, testing, construction and operation plans were required.
  • Phase one was aimed to be operational around 2030 and the Government had largely supported the plans, including the Leeds Vision recognising the importance of integrated transport. The consenting process required a sound business case, in line with the transport and works act, was to be submitted to unlock land and planning rights through the Secretary of State.
  • The re-franchising of buses was outlined to have limited impact on the resourcing of the mass transit team and a separate directorate was in development to cover this, with the ability to recruit. The mass transit team was to be upscaled to 48 posts with around 12 currently employed and had legal and consultant support both internal and external to WYCA.
  • As construction was scheduled to commence in 2028, there was to be an interim period where poorly serviced areas were unlikely to see any improvements, particularly in outer areas.
  • In order for accessibility to be well considered, consultation and understanding the experience of people who live with disabilities was required to ensure provision of all necessary facilities.
  • The approach for ticketing cross border into other districts covered by other local authorities was to be queried and understood against the transport policy plan; further information was agreed to be provided back to Members.
  • The mass transit vision was to serve across West Yorkshire. Phase one Leeds line was not proposed to cover East Leeds, further than St. James’s Hospital, however, strategic cases were to be developed to identify corridors to best connect places.
  • Phase one was not solely to better connect Leeds and Bradford but was in order to create a central piece of infrastructure that was to be built up and connected to, eventually, all of West Yorkshire. The lines freed capacity, alleviating connection, and allowed for better connections to be developed in between.
  • WYCA worked in partnership with the five local authorities which it covered to identify the key transport hub locations and create a connectivity infrastructure plan. The roles of different places needed to be understood for the scheme to connect them accordingly, as part of the mass transit vision.
  • Land purchases were a long way from being secured with funding streams not yet certain in advance of submitting the strategic outline plan. Several route options were due for public consultation which will inform land purchase.
  • Design feasibility for the proposed route connecting Leeds to Bradford was identified through nodes, where connections could be developed using disused railways or pathways, and also via creating new roads or travel infrastructure alongside existing routes.
  • Different vehicle types and technology were proposed for the scheme, with a preference for developing a tram network for phase one.
  • It was clarified that 40% of carbon emissions in Leeds stemmed from transport and given that a significant part of the mass transit infrastructure was not going to be constructed until after 2030, and also the earliest date for the bus re-franchising was in 2027, whether there was need to review the carbon neutrality by 2030 declaration was queried. In response it was noted that time can’t be afforded to delaying response to climate change and the ambition fed into a vast amount of Council decisions.
  • To allow deliverability of carbon neutrality against target dates it may need a rephrasing of policy, given that many barriers to achieving it were outside of the Council’s influence, however, the 2030 date had been set against a context of feeling that national policy had not gone far enough. Existing transport strategy outlined feasibility issues and there was disparity between WYCA’s and other authority’s targets. Mass transit had identified key places to connect and actively addresses reducing emissions.
  • The number of people’s journeys and where the origin and destination had been used as an evidence base on providing clean travel options. A better understanding of travel corridors was integral to providing the best travel method between locations and the bus re-franchising was not replacing mass transit, they were to work in unison.
  • Connectivity to the White Rose Centre was queried as bus and train services were proposed to create a hub, however, no additional parking was proposed. It was noted that it was yet to be determined whether mass transit was to connect to train or rail at this location and park and ride schemes were under consideration.
  • Significant improvements to rail and bus services were suggested as a potentially better solution to address travel issues in Leeds.
  • In summary, it was outlined Members were to be provided back with information of ticketing proposals, travel corridor identification and an update on the consultation once completed.


RECOMMENDED – That the report, along with Members comments, be noted.


Supporting documents: