Rachel Reeves, Leeds West MP, has written to Arriva Rail North and called on the firm to increase services to the new Kirkstall Forge station.
Her intervention comes after the latest figures showed 21,400 journeys were made between Kirkstall Forge and Leeds in the first five months since the station opened last June -; more than the 20,299 journeys predicted for the entire year.
Ms Reeves said the success of the station highlighted the need to add extra trains to meet increasing demand, provide a more frequent service and ease the pressure on congested roads in the area.
In her letter to Arriva Rail North’s interim managing director Alan Chaplin, she said there was “much greater scope to realise the potential of the station” if more trains stopped at Kirkstall Forge.
The Leeds West MP said demand was set to increase still further with hundreds more people expected to work in new offices at Kirkstall Forge.
In the letter, she said: “It really helps to promote sustainable travel if all these people start using the trains to and from Kirkstall Forge from day one, not least because of the local traffic problems.”
The letter comes as Ms Reeves continues to seek the views of local people with surveys on improving public transport in Leeds.
The station on the Leeds to Bradford line is a joint project between the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Council, Network Rail, Northern Rail and the Commercial Estates Group.
Commenting, Rachel Reeves said:
“Kirkstall Forge is already proving a big success just months after opening last June.
But we need more trains to stop there to provide a regular and reliable service to serve a growing community at Kirkstall Forge and ease the congestion on local roads.
I’ve written to Arriva Rail North to ask them to review the current timetable and increase the number of trains that stop there.
The Kirkstall Forge development is a major investment in the area that will provide jobs and homes. But we need more trains to stop there to fully unlock the huge potential of the area.
The station is already popular with people who want to park their car at the station and commute into the city centre and we need to build on that promising start.
I hope that Arriva Rail North will do their best to help improve public transport by increasing the number of trains serving Kirkstall Forge and ensure its continuing success.”
As part of her campaign to improve public transport, Ms Reeves has also extended her bus and train surveys for Leeds West constituents by another month.
Rachel Reeves said:
“I want to hear what improvements people would like to see while a detailed transport plan is put together.
We have had a really positive response to the survey and I hope more people will fill it in before we look at the results and share them with the transport decision-makers in the area.”
Kirkstall Forge is the first train station to open in Leeds since Burley Park was opened in 1988
Bus survey – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QQLCR86