Venue: Committee Room 1, City Hall, Bradford
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Taj Salam and from Public Representatives Nasreen Khan and Peter Ketley.
Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
Transport Committee members only.
There were no disclosable pecuniary interests declared by members at the meeting.
Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public
There were no items requiring the exclusion of the press and public.
Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 29 October 2018 be approved.
The Sub-Committee was provided with updates from the bus and rail operators.
Arriva updated the Sub-Committee on network changes due to take place on 23 and 24 February in the Bradford area. A new 268 timetable would improve punctuality and journey stability. Consultation had taken place with stakeholders and customers on the Dewsbury to Bradford route and this was to be withdrawn as the route was covered by other buses.
The Sub-Committee was informed that there would be a service to Mirfield Grammar School running in both directions at school times. It was also acknowledged that there is a need for a Bradford to Mirfield service for Mirfield Grammar and that this is being looked at.
Members commented that there is no direct Leeds to Mirfield service but were informed that there are other services which cover this route.
Northern updated the Sub-Committee that the long running dispute of 2years was now over and officially suspended with normal Saturday service being resumed from next week.
Performance has improved to 85% in terms of reliability due to the changes made in the December 2018 timetable, this also now means that other issues can be more easily identified. Further changes are planned in 2019:
· From May 2019 Huddersfield to Wakefield Kirkgate will now extend to Castleford and
· York to Preston will go on to Blackpool.
· December 2019 will see the introduction of Northern Connect across the Calder Valley with a link to Manchester Airport.
The Sub-Committee was informed that new trains are now in the UK and are being tested. The first electric service will be Doncaster to Leeds in May 2019 and at the same time the new diesel and electric trains will be phased in to be mainly out by December 2019. The on-going refurbishment of trains will be completed by the end of the year with Pacers gone by then.
Northern are also working with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority regards the new Elland Station and the car park extensions planned in the Calder Valley.
Members asked the following questions:
· Are there plans to extend the length of platforms to accommodate the longer trains? It was confirmed that there were some plans to extend some platforms but others could not be extended, however the new trains would adapt to this and only open appropriate doors at stations and making this clear to passengers.
· Are there plans to increase parking facilities at Cross Flatts Station? Facilities are inadequate and resulting in a number of cars parking on the road side. Northern confirmed that there will be a small extension to the station car park and acknowledged that there is a very high demand for car parking at a number of stations at present.
· Will there be provision for bicycles on the new trains? It was confirmed that there will be a larger area provided on the new trains and 2 or more will be allowed to be carried on. There is no need for advanced booking on Northern trains.
· Will ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
The Sub-Committee considered a presentation by Tom Gifford on ‘Planning for Growth: At the heart of the North- The City Region Connectivity Strategy’. Members were asked for their views on the strategy to inform its ongoing development.
The presentation was a starting point of a larger conversation around what transport looks like in the next 5 to 20 years. After examining the current situation areas have been identified for development. The following key points were made:
· Targets have been set to increase use – are these the right ones?
· New stations are proposed.
· High-speed line and the Northern Powerhouse plans are included as the Region is pushing Government for these as a priority.
· Are the geographical areas identified the right areas?
· Key goal is getting people to work – the specific routes and modes would be decided later.
· There are many new options becoming available for mass transit technologies which would be considered.
The Sub-Committee was informed that the information would be made available on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority website asking for feedback and therefore starting the official consultation.
Members noted that it was a challenge to get the public out of cars and onto public transport. It was acknowledged that any offerings had to be quicker, better and more convenient than a car to encourage people.
It was asked how the strategy links to the existing Transforming Cities Fund and confirmation was given that the bigger picture was always in mind. Due to funding having to be spent by 2023 the Combined Authority had already submitted some small bids with a view to possibly submitting a bigger bid in June 2019.
Members commented that the 300% target for increasing cycling was not ambitious enough given the current low levels. It was confirmed that the map does not identify any specific modes of transport so any of the proposed routes could be cycling and walking.
Resolved: That the report, presentation and Sub-Committee’s feedback be noted.
The Sub-Committee made the following suggestions and comments:
· There has been an issue at Low Moor Station ticket machines issuing only three tickets instead of four.
Northern agreed to look into this.
· On the Keighley to Bradford route many cars are parking on the roads making bus stop use difficult. Often passengers are standing in the road to hail a bus.
Members were informed that it is the local council’s responsibility to put Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO’s) in place to address such issues if they reflect local residents views.
· It was noted many people drive to stations and then park on the road to save money on parking.
· When there was a recent event in Bradford some bus stop information screens had been displaying incorrect information. In addition paper notices of bus stop closures were not removed for some time and hid the timetable.
The Combined Authority agreed to take this feedback back to the relevant service area.
· A member advised that en route to the meeting, the windscreen of his bus had been smashed. Passengers had to wait for a replacement bus. First Group confirmed that they do use ‘Trojan buses’ to catch perpetrators of such attacks and that the operators and the Combined Authority jointly fund a police sergeant who looks at particular incidents and the areas where they take place.
Public Representative James Craig informed the Sub-Committee that he is setting up a ‘Clean Air Bradford’ group and if anyone is interested in joining to please let him know.
The Sub-Committee considered a report of matters of information relating to the Bradford District.
The budget will be formally approved at the Combined Authority on 14 February with a reduction of £1m per annum for supported bus services.
Boxing Day Services
A slight increase in passengers was seen this Boxing Day. It is not clear whether this is an continuing trend as the day of the week does move and the weather has impact. The biggest increase was seen particularly in relation to travel into Leeds due to the retail offering.
The Sub-Committee queried as to real-time displays working only in a certain direction and not for all stops. The Combined Authority confirmed that there are limitations as to installation of displays because there has to be an accessible electricity supply and often the cost to connect a shelter can be too high. There is a programme to replace small blue screen displays to the new digital displays.
The busiest stops with no shelters have been looked at as to installation and information displays but currently there is no available capital to spend. Displays can be re-allocated but this needs to properly assessed in relation to impact on communities losing a display.
Neale Wallace- Retirement
The Chair gave his thanks on behalf of the Bradford District Sub-Committee to Neale, and Diane for all of their advice and hard work over the years. It was noted this was Neale’s last DCSC as he leaves the Combined Authority in March 2019.
It was reported that phase 1 safety work was commencing in March to make the Queensbury Tunnel safe for contractors to carry out phase 2 of works; phase 2 being the planned abandonment of the tunnel. The Queensbury Tunnel Society wants to stop this abandonment happening and are waiting for planning to be submitted in order to appeal against this.
Bradford Council have confirmed that they have no funding available to take the tunnel on, but are open to looking at private funding with Highways England. The Society are seeking to gain Ministerial support to further their cause.
Resolved: That the information report be noted.