Setting Off

There are a lot of transport blogs out there. Some are for enthusiasts. Some are written by frustrated commuters. Some are for the transport industry. My plan for this one is a bit different. Leeds is often stated to be the biggest city that doesn’t have a mass transit system like trams or an underground. Behind the scenes there are lots of ulterior motives, hidden agendas and vested interests all wanting their own thing. There are a lot fewer blogs looking at the transport system from the point of view of someone who just wants to get from A to B.

In the early 80s I wondered why, if the trains were supposed to have been operated by British Rail, the local ones seemed to be operated by Metro Train. Since then I’ve been interested in how the West Yorkshire transport network works and why. There’s a lot more to it than just buses and trains. Buses need roads to run on and trains need infrastructure for the railway lines and for people and freight to get on the network. Other forms of transport have their own requirements. This all needs money and often legal powers. Particularly in these times of public spending cuts there can be conflicting priorities. At times it can get quite nasty. This is often buried deep within official documents and carefully worded press releases. They’re generally not secret but can be very obscure.

What I want to do therefore is cut through some of this and find out what’s really happening. Why do alternatives to buses keep getting blocked? Why is Leeds City Council spending so much on new bus lanes when bus use is in long term decline? Why can’t motorbikes use bus lanes? Why does Leeds City Council have one transport policy and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have another? This blog will also be something of a repository for stuff I find. Legislation and consultants’ reports might not be the most interesting reading but they are how policy is formed and implemented. What can be interesting is putting them next to official statements and interviews in the local press. I’ve also put in the odd Freedom of Information Act request to ask questions that might not have been asked. This blog will concentrate on the Leeds area but it might occasionally cover other areas. As a biker I’m also interested in how law and politics can affect motorbikes. Whether we leave the EU or not European legislation will still have a big influence on what happens.