Wakefield petition to get West Yorkshire buses back into public control reaches 10,000 signatures

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A petition calling on West Yorkshire’s Mayor and council leaders to take the region’s buses into public control passed 10,000 signatures.

The petition, created by The Better Buses for West Yorkshire campaign, criticises the current system saying “bus services are broken” due to a so-called ‘deregulated’ system that allows “bus companies to do what they like.”

The groups wants to bring buses into public control, through a system called franchising, with fares, timetables, and routes set by local authorities instead of private companies, but operators may be able to continue running services under a franchise system.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And the campaigners have said that the addition of 1,200 signatures in the last three weeks should be viewed as a vote of confidence in the Mayor’s plans.

A petition to bring buses under public control has reached 10,000 signatures.A petition to bring buses under public control has reached 10,000 signatures.
A petition to bring buses under public control has reached 10,000 signatures.

Gareth Forest, from Wakefield, who launched the petition in 2019, said: “When I started this petition, I did it in anger at my bus route that had just been cut. I wasn’t able to commute to work anymore or rely on it to see family or friends.

“I’d just attended the September Climate Strike in Leeds, and I knew then that we’d never see a change in our public transport system whilst private companies are in charge. I wanted to force politicians to see that passengers won’t accept the status quo any longer.

“Now we’ve hit 10,000 signatures, I am so proud and overwhelmed at the support this petition has got. It shows that people across West Yorkshire are crying out for change. I want my bus service back, for my community, and for our climate. It's time for public control.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In Greater Manchester, the first franchised bus services will start running in September.

The petition was created in Wakefield in 2019.The petition was created in Wakefield in 2019.
The petition was created in Wakefield in 2019.

Analysis by experts predicted public control in Greater Manchester would take four times as many car journeys off the road and generate nearly three times the economic benefits compared to the private companies’ offer.

The milestone comes just three weeks after Mayor Tracy Brabin announced that, pending an audit and public consultation, public control is the preferred option and the delivery process could start as early as March next year.

Matthew Topham, one of the campaigners behind the petition, said: “For too long our bus network has had shareholders, often based overseas, not local people at its heart.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Clearing this hurdle should send a clear message to council leaders and national Government: the people of West Yorkshire want our buses back.

“Public control will put passengers over profits, the way transport works in every other European country.”

Passengers around West Yorkshire have been reacting to the news. Susan Price, a bus user from Knottingley, added: “I regularly use the 148/9 and while there is no problem going to Wakefield, coming home the last five times the bus was knocked.

“One time, two were knocked and the man told me that is usual. When the bus couldn’t go down Kirkgate, the information said the bus was due, not that the stop was suspended.”

For more information on The Better Busses for Yorkshire campaign, visit: https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/take-west-yorkshire-s-buses-back-under-public-control