Dear Leeds City Council,

I have a number of questions about bus lanes and would appreciate it if you would answer the following:

Leeds council has a target of doubling bus usage by 2026. However bus usage continues to fall sharply. What contingency plans or alternatives does Leeds council have if this target is not met?

What sort of monitoring is in place to ensure that bus lanes have sufficient usage to be viable, and that they do not have negative effects on other traffic?

What powers does Leeds council have to compel bus companies to use bus lanes?

What happens to bus lanes if services are permanently withdrawn and they are no longer needed?

Congestion on Eastgate can have serious knock-on effects for the rest of the Leeds road network. How will the proposed changes to The Headrow avoid this?

If bus infrastructure is built that only benefits one company, such as the York Road guided busway, what contribution does that company have to make towards the cost of building it? Do they agree to provide a set level of services that use it? If not, what happens when that infrastructure is no longer required?

Please provide a copy of the risk assessment and sign-off for placing "floating" bus stops in cycle lanes. If none exists, please explain how this design came to be implemented given the potential for conflict between pedestrians and cyclists

Yours faithfully,

Marcus Houlden

DPFOI, Leeds City Council

Dear Marcus

 
Freedom of information request Ref 95481 : Bus Lane Strategy

 

Thank you for your request for the above information which we
received on 21 January 2019. We will respond to your request in
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, or the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

Your request has been assigned to one of our officers who will
arrange a response within the appropriate statutory time limit.

 

Please remember to quote reference number FOI 95481 in any future
communications.

 

Kind Regards

 

Malika Doust

Information Governance Support Officer

Information Governance and Managements Team (City and Communities)

Digital Information Service

 

 

 

 

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IMG.CC.requests, Leeds City Council

Dear Mr. Houlden,

 

FOI Request: Bus Lane Strategy

 

I write in response to your above Freedom of Information request, received
in this office on 21st January 2019.

 

In dealing with your request, please note that we have considered it under
the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, as opposed to under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. This is because the information you have
requested is information involving ‘activities’ and ‘administrative
measures’ which are likely to affect elements of the environment under Reg
2(1)(c).  I am advised that both the domestic and European courts give
wide meaning to the Regulations and have indicated that they will adopt a
broad construction of the definition of environmental information.

 

Please find the answers to your questions below to note, however, many of
these queries do not concern information the Council holds in a recorded
format (and are, therefore, not technically subject to FOI/EIR):

 

Leeds council has a target of doubling bus usage by 2026. However bus
usage continues to fall sharply. What contingency plans or alternatives
does Leeds council have if this target is not met? 

 

Leeds City Council set this challenging target to focus attention on
delivering positive changes to address the decline in bus patronage to
which you refer. This includes the provision of new park and ride sites,
dedicated highways schemes to mitigate traffic congestion, low emissions
buses, improved passenger information, changes to concessionary passes to
encourage take up by teenagers/young adults, extension of peak services to
2000 hours and improved live vehicle tracking.  The changes are not being
undertaken in isolation and regular monitoring will be taking place at key
stages to gauge usage and take up of new users.

 

Given the legal obligation the Council is under with respect to Clean Air 
- the Council is legally obliged to make this type of programme work.
Irrespective of the air quality situation, at the consultation last
summer, the proposals which include vastly improved public realm and
pedestrian facilities, were warmly welcomed.

 

What sort of monitoring is in place to ensure that bus lanes have
sufficient usage to be viable, and that they do not have negative effects
on other traffic?

 

Leeds City Council undertake traffic surveys to monitor traffic. Bus lanes
have been introduced on sections of bus route where bus frequency is high
and this remains the case with bus lanes in the Leeds district. Prior to
the introduction of bus lanes, key traffic modelling takes place to ensure
that savings in time for public transport justify the cost of introducing
the bus lane. This assessment will also measure the impact of general
traffic moving through the area and impact on any lane width loss.

 

What powers does Leeds council have to compel bus companies to use bus
lanes?

 

Bus operators have a licence to operate vehicles on the highway and Leeds
City Council cannot compel a bus company to operate via a bus lane unless
they place statutory conditions on the existing highway to restrict buses.
It is not though in the interests of bus operators not to use bus lanes as
bus operations benefit greatly in time savings from buses operating via a
dedicated lane.

 

What happens to bus lanes if services are permanently withdrawn and they
are no longer needed?

 

If there is no longer a scheduled bus operation on a section of highway
Leeds City Council could make a decision to remove a bus lane or suspend
its operation. As I hope you can see from the previous answer, however,
bus lanes are only introduced after very careful consideration, and (as
far as I’m aware) this has never happened in Leeds.

 

Congestion on Eastgate can have serious knock-on effects for the rest of
the Leeds road network. How will the proposed changes to The Headrow avoid
this?

 

The proposed improvements on the Headrow look to resolve these issues by
removing buses which are actually going north from Vicar Lane and onto New
Briggate (away from the Headrow) by making Vicar Lane 2 way. These changes
have been modelled to ensure (as far as possible) that alleviating
congestion in one place will not create it in another.

 

If bus infrastructure is built that only benefits one company, such as the
York Road guided busway, what contribution does that company have to make
towards the cost of building it? Do they agree to provide a set level of
services that use it? If not, what happens when that infrastructure is no
longer required?

 

The York Road Guideway was unusual in that Frist Group did directly
contribute to the construction costs of the Guideway in addition to a
service level agreement for the Service. Again, as mentioned earlier, thus
far no infrastructure has been removed in Leeds.

 

Please provide a copy of the risk assessment and sign-off for placing
"floating" bus stops in cycle lanes. If none exists, please explain how
this design came to be implemented given the potential for conflict
between pedestrians and cyclists

 

Floating bus stops are, as I’m sure you’re aware, a relatively new and
innovative solution to an issue which we expect to see more of in the
future. To date each floating Bus Stop we have implemented has (in line
with all highway schemes) received a Safety Audit, before implementation,
and after they have been in place for a short while.

 

I trust that this response is satisfactory. Under Regulation 11, however,
you are entitled to make representations to us if it appears that we have
failed to comply with a requirement of the Regulations in relation to your
request. Representations must be made to us no later than 40 working days
after the date you believe we failed to comply with such a requirement.

 

We will then consider your representations and supporting evidence and
decide if we have complied, notifying you of our decision as soon as
possible, and no later than 40 working days after the date of receipt of
your representations.

 

Under Regulation 18, you are then entitled to apply to the Information
Commissioner for a decision as to whether, in any specified respect, your
request has not been dealt with in accordance with parts 2 and 3 of the
Regulations.

 

Should you wish to contact the Commissioner’s Office then you can write to
the following address: Office of the Information Commissioner, Wycliffe
House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

You may also contact the Commissioner via his website at www.ico.gov.uk

I trust that this is self-explanatory.  If you have any queries please
contact me on 0113 37 87891, or by return email.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Richard Brook,

Information Governance Officer,

Information Management and Governance,

Digital and Information Service,

Leeds City Council.

 

Tel: 0113 37 87118

Email: [email address]

 

 

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