West Yorkshire consults on franchising

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West Yorkshire could become the next area to adopt a franchised regime, beginning in 2027. Leeds will be split into three lots under the proposals, with seven others covering the remainder of the county. JONATHAN WELCH

Following on from Manchester and Liverpool, West Yorkshire could be the next region to adopt a franchise model for buses. The West Yorkshire Combined Authority says it believes it needs to change the way local buses are run to achieve its ambitions for better bus services in the region, and has launched a public consultation, which runs from 10 October until 7 January.

The consultation document sets out its plan for franchising in the county and how it could be introduced, and explores an alternative option of introducing an Enhanced Partnership Plus (EP+), which details what else the Combined Authority and bus operators could do to improve local buses through the current legal framework.

This consultation will inform a decision by the Mayor of West Yorkshire on whether to introduce the proposed franchising scheme in March 2024. Should the proposal go ahead, it is planned for there to be 10 lots delivered in three phases with a mix of smaller and larger contracts within each lot, with the first commencing in 2027. The 10 lots would cover areas described as Leeds 1, Leeds 2, Leeds 3, Bradford, Keighley, Calderdale, South Kirklees, ‘Heavy Woollen,’ Wakefield and ‘Five Towns.’