WYCA proposes to support better bus services through deeper partnership

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West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee is looking at opportunities to grow bus use, with plans to support the recovery and growth of bus services through a deeper partnership between the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and bus operators in the region being developed.

WYCA says it is working with operators to consider building on the success of the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance with a more formal partnership which could help deliver deals on fares to help encourage more bus travel; guarantees of consistent standards across different operators; better integration of customer travel information, and; devolution of bus funding to the Combined Authority to support services more efficiently.

The Combined Authority is also setting out the results of a review of the region’s core bus network which was carried out to identify opportunities to improve services and grow the number of people travelling by bus. WYCA says that review shows that improving frequencies, linking to areas of economic growth and investing in vehicles and bus priority measures, could lead to an additional 24 million bus journeys by 2033.

WYCA says that the development of an enhanced bus partnership will take place alongside work exploring other options to help improve services including franchising.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: “The bus service is relied upon by people across West Yorkshire to connect them with work, education and leisure and we have worked with operators to ensure buses have been available through the pandemic. However, the economic pressures created by the pandemic and the urgent need to put the service on a sustainable footing for the long-term means further action is needed.

“We will continue to consider the case for franchising and will press the Government to give local areas the freedom and funding to pursue the options we believe are appropriate to meet local needs, including public ownership. An enhanced bus partnership represents an opportunity to deliver for passengers as that wider work continues.

“Our review of the region’s core bus services confirms there is huge potential to encourage significant growth in passenger numbers with the right investment in vehicles, priority measures, frequencies and connecting to areas of economic growth. The proposed enhanced bus partnership would be an important step in delivering that vision.”

Yorkshire Tiger’s Wrightbus Cadet-bodied DAF SB120 620 is seen in Halifax bus station. RICHARD SHARMAN