THE Labour candidate for Tees Valley Mayor has announced an integrated travel system as part of her manifesto.
Jessie Joe Jacobs said she will make transport her top priority should she win the election with more bus, cycle and rail routes within an integrated 'Tees Travel' metro style system.
On a visit to Thornaby Station she met Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Rachel Reeves and spoke to commuters about her plans.
Ms Jacobs said: "Connecting our towns and communities with each other and with the regional and national network is crucial to plans to open and transform the economy of the area. Transport is an area where the mayor has the powers and the budget to make a difference and I believe it is key to unlocking the area’s potential.
“Teesside needs a 21st century transport system that connects our communities and gets people to where they need to be. There are people in Port Clarence and Hartlepool who can't even get a bus to their local shops or GP. We need a system where people can get to work, where our young people can get to school and college and our old people can get to hospital or to visit their families.
“We need so much more than a few flights to Alicante. What will make the biggest difference to the lives of ordinary people in this area is a well-designed network with more buses, trains and cycle routes. Good local travel will also mean visitors to the area and can get around easily opening us up as a destination for tourism and cultural events, let our town centres become retail and leisure centres and boost our night time economy and tourist sectors.
“It will stop our high streets being clogged up with cars and taxis and cut our region’s carbon emissions. It is a win-win-win: for people, for the economy and for the climate. That’s why public transport would be one of my big priorities as mayor."
Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen said: “Labour talk about investing in transport, but for 15-years they sat by and did nothing as Teesside Airport, one of our most critical pieces of transport infrastructure, was run into the ground. Even today, after I saved it from closure, my Labour opponent says every pound spent on our airport is a pound wasted. I’ve backed the redevelopment of Middlesbrough and Darlington railway stations with £45m, increasing train services to London and the number of trains running across the region. But improving our railway stations doesn't stop there, I'm investing millions of pounds at Hartlepool, Billingham, Eaglescliffe, and the station at Teesside Airport."