Plans to franchise bus services throughout West Yorkshire to be discussed by combined authority
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Members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority will be asked to give the go-ahead for a major public consultation into how buses should be run across the region, at a private specialist meeting set to take place later this week.
It comes after the combined authority carried out an assessment into the options for reforming how buses are run – where franchising was named as the preferred option, subject to a public consultation.
Bus franchising would give the combined authority control over the routes, frequency, fares and overall standards of the region’s buses, and contract bus operators to run these on its behalf.
The assessment stated that franchising would offer “clear strategic benefits” – stating it would be more affordable, convenient and greener for bus users.
Alternatively, at the meeting, the combined authority could consider the “enhanced partnership plus” option, which aims to build on the existing partnership working with bus operators in the region.
Simon Warburton, executive director of transport, said: "Buses are our most widely used form of public transport and provide a lifeline for many people, connecting them to opportunities – from work and training, to seeing friends and family.
"Our analysis shows that the way they are run needs to change to achieve our ambitions for better buses in West Yorkshire.
"We want buses to be the first choice for travel in a better-connected region - not because you don’t have a car, but because buses are more affordable, convenient to use, and better for the environment."
If members back moving to the next step of the legislative process, a statutory consultation will take place from October, and members of the public will be asked for their feedback on the proposals.
Subject to agreeing to go into public consultation, and the results of that process, West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin, will make a final decision on how the region's buses should be run in Spring 2024.