A HUGE amount of work will be needed to get people back on Bradford’s buses after months of transport chaos, a councillor has claimed.

Independent Councillor Taj Salam (Little Horton) is also a bus driver, and said the double whammy of the closure of Bradford Interchange and city centre road works was leading to people switching from public transport to cars.

The issue was raised during a motion at a Bradford Council meeting on Tuesday evening.

Titled “City Centre Traffic Chaos,” the motion, brought by Conservative Leader Rebecca Poulsen, called for more support for bus passengers in the city centre – many of whom have been left baffled by the changes to bus stops and routes.

Cllr Poulsen said: “For many disabled bus users it is impossible. People are really struggling – where people get of the bus keeps changing.”

Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe acknowledged that the unexpected closure of the Interchange exacerbated issues caused by the planned Transforming Cities Fund work, which will see the pedestrianisation of roads such as Market Street and Hall Ings.

She added: “When these works are done we will have a much better city centre than what we have had before.”

Cllr Salam agreed, saying: “We haven’t had a transport system fit for purpose for many years.

“Every day we are losing bus customers – we are losing people to cars and other modes of transport.

“The work was partly to encourage people to use public transport, but now people are so fed up they are saying they are not going to get on the bus again.

“When this is finished we’re going to have to do so much to get people back onto public transport.

“We could have the best bus system in Bradford, but if we don’t have any customers it won’t be successful."

Referring to the city centre improvement works, Councillor Matt Edwards, Leader of the Greens in Bradford, acknowledged the issues, but said: “What is happening in Bradford is happening in other cities across the country.

“When Liverpool did this it caused problems for a period of time, but look at the improvements that made.”

Councillor Brendan Stubbs, Lib Dem Leader, said: “I received a text this morning from a bus user saying ‘It is hellish catching the bus in Bradford now. I feel when it is winter with bad weather and dark nights, it will be impossible.’

“The reality is most people are avoiding buses in Bradford. It is having detrimental effect on people’s views of Bradford – just a few months before we spend a year telling everyone how wonderful we are.”

A separate Labour motion detailing other transport schemes in the District and agreeing to do more to improve communication with city centre transport users was approved over the Conservative one.