Leeds bus service to come back under public control

“What a historic moment for West Yorkshire” says Mayor Tracy Brabbin.

Leeds has announced that its bus service will be under going changes over the next few years.

Today marked the final meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority of Mayor Tracy Brabbin’s term, in which the long-awaited decision of whether or not to take the region’s bus services back under control was determined.

The meeting follows a statutory process set out by central government in 2017, which includes an assessment, a public consultation, and a final decision by the elected regional Mayor.

It has been noted that there were the news could see a deeper partnership between the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and private bus operators, or the re-introduction of public control over routes, fares, frequencies, and the overall standard of services through a process (known as franchising).

The decision was confirmed at lunchtime that the buses in West Yorkshire would be reformed and plans for bus franchising were approved.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority had said that the work was a ‘culmination of a three-year-long process that was first put in place by the Mayor after her election in May 2021, to investigate the case for changing how buses are run across Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax and Wakefield’.

Ideas have been submitted across a competition, interactive maps, perception survey, and discussion groups – the findings were that people service: reliable, frequent, quick, affordable, connected to the trains, safe, easy to use, a pleasant experience, accountable, accessible for all, eco-friendly, comfortable and a pleasant experience – all factors it is hoped to improve upon with the new bus services in the future.

Commenting on the announcement that the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has approved bus franchising proposals, Director of Leeds Civic Trust Martin Hamilton said:

“We are pleased that that the decision has been made to go ahead with bus franchising in West Yorkshire.  The bus services in West Yorkshire are currently inadequate to support the transport needs of the population.”

“Bringing the service under public control will mean that decisions on routes, frequencies and the overall quality of the bus service will be determined by need and not by profit.”

“It will take several years before a franchising system is fully up and running. In the meantime, it is vital that the combined authority continues to work with bus operators to improve the service and to speak to bus users about the sort of service they want when franchising is introduced.”

Read More:

Leeds Civic Trust published a report outlining how the bus service in West Yorkshire might improve. 

You can find out more on the Excellent Buses Leeds website.

Feature Image – WYCA, Supplied

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