New bus partnership launched in West Yorkshire

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Arriva Yorkshire, First West Yorkshire and Trandev have all committed to the Bus 18 initiative, which will be managed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority

First, Arriva and Transdev sign up to the partnership, with measures including covering taxi fares for passengers whose bus is more than 20 minutes late

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has launched the Bus 18 initiative, bringing together Arriva Yorkshire, First West Yorkshire and Transdev, along with the Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire (ABOWY) to work together to improve bus services and encourage more people to use them.

Launched on Friday, March 24, measures taking place under the voluntary partnership include reducing the number of service changes, addressing issues affecting punctuality on five key routes and improving passenger information, including during disruptions.

The operators have also signed up to the ECOStars scheme, which provides recognition, guidance and advice on operational best practice to operators of goods vehicles, buses, coaches and commercial vehicle fleets. The aim is to help reduce fuel consumption and harmful emissions.

To mark the Bus 18 commitment to better customer satisfaction, passengers not happy with their bus journey can claim a free travel voucher from First West Yorkshire, Arriva Yorkshire or Transdev.

Passengers can also call a taxi and claim the cost back from one of the operators if their last bus doesn’t arrive within 20 minutes of the scheduled time.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority Chairman, Cllr Keith Wakefield, said: “West Yorkshire Combined Authority is committed to developing a modern, integrated transport network that underpins economic growth, investment and job creation and with almost 180 million journeys made on them in West Yorkshire every year, buses are and will remain a vital element of that network.

“However last year’s countywide consultation and the recent Big Transport Consultation in Leeds showed that people had a number of concerns about local buses, including their punctuality and reliability, levels of customer care, changes to routes and timetables, value-for-money and ticketing.

“I am pleased to see commitments to overcome these issues, combating the costs of congestion on our local economy and improving local air quality being made through Bus 18.”

Paul Matthews, Managing Director at First West Yorkshire, said: “It is our responsibility to reduce emissions on the roads of West Yorkshire and I’m pleased to announce on behalf of the three major bus operators, that we have pledged to introduce more environmentally friendly buses with less emissions to improve air quality by the end of next year.”

Alex Hornby, CEO at Transdev Blazefield, said: “Transdev is exceptionally proud of its track record of working alongside others to improve bus services in West Yorkshire and beyond, and we continue this approach with the ambitious and deliverable Bus 18 programme.

“This is a fresh opportunity for us and our fellow operators to improve the local bus system with a range of important and effective quick wins, which will make bus travel better for the people of West Yorkshire, and should enable further growth in our local economy.”

Jon Croxford, Area Managing Director for Arriva Yorkshire, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Bus 18 partnership.

“As a bus industry in West Yorkshire, we are committed to making buses easier to use for existing and potential users. Bus 18 will achieve this by delivering a more reliable and stable network, providing improved passenger information and enhancing the range of ticketing options.”