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Friday 19 June 2009
At the Annual
General Meeting of the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport
Authority (ITA) on Friday 19 June, Cllr Ryk Downes was re-elected
to the post of Chairman.
Cllr Downes (Lib Dem) had previously been Chairman in 2007-08,
and takes over from Cllr Chris Greaves (Con). Conservative and
Liberal Democrat members form the majority on the ITA and have
shared the role of Chairman since 2004.
"I'm delighted to return to the Chairmanship of Metro at such an
important time," said Cllr Downes. "The next 12 months will be as
important as any we've ever seen.
"Earlier this month Metro and Leeds City Council began a series
of road shows to let people know more about the New Generation
Transport scheme to bring trolleybuses back to the streets of
Leeds, which will relieve congestion along three keys routes into
and out of the city.
"Consultations will continue on new rail stations at Apperley
Bridge, Kirkstall Forge and Low Moor, as well as on a new southern
entrance for Leeds. Such projects are vital to make it easy for
people to reach employment areas in the wider Leeds City Region,
contributing to the overall growth of the area.
"The Local Transport Act gives Metro and the ITA new powers,
which will enable us to link together the many, disparate parts of
'non-personal' transport and create viable options - with our
partners - for travel to work, tourism, freight and leisure.
"High-speed rail, electrification and new rolling stock are
important national schemes which will also have a big impact on
West Yorkshire, and it is important that Metro plays its part in
getting the best deal for the region.
"But if the major bus companies think that a change of Chairman
means a change of direction for Metro - think again! I fully intend
to follow my predecessor's example in making the big bus companies
justify fares rises and service cuts, when we all know that in
times of recession we should be making public transport an
attractive and affordable alternative to cars.
"On behalf of Metro, I shall be taking our concerns about recent
events in West Yorkshire to the Department for Transport and to
Lord Adonis. Passengers should have an alternative if bus companies
decide to cut back services, but Metro is unable to provide it for
them because our hands are tied."