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Return bus control to us, Leeds urges Darling

LEEDS CITY Council will urge transport secretary Alistair Darling to hand control of bus services back to the city as part of a plan to replace the scrapped Supertram scheme.

It claims that controlling the bus services will enable it to introduce a bus rapid transit system along the route of the now scrapped tram.

Darling axed the supertram in November after costs increased from £664M to £1.3bn (NCE 10 November 2005).

When Council officials meet Darling later this month they will urge him to fund the Bus Rapid Transit scheme. They believe this can produce many of the same benefit of the tram for around half the cost.

But they believe that the bus scheme will only succeed if the current system, under which private companies compete to operate services, is brought back under public control.

'If we can't have Supertram, then we need segregated bus routes tied into park and ride, ' said Leeds City Council development director Jean Dent.

'We have had discussions with the government. We are keen to use Leeds as a demonstrator. But deregulation is a problem, ' she said.

'So we have invited Alistair Darling to come to Leeds to discuss and make him understand that he has got to fund a public transport system that will deliver a shift in the mode of travel.

'How do we provide these routes? We need changes in legislation.'

NCE 500

Should Leeds replace its axed tram with a hybrid bus scheme?

38% said yes

54 % said No

8 % didn't know

NCE500 is 500 engineers who agree to be polled with a different question each week

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