Have your say on your bus information

People across West Yorkshire are being asked how they want to find out about their bus services.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority has started a seven-week engagement process to find out how people want and use information about local bus services.

People can use online and printed questionnaires to provide feedback. There will also be a series of organised focus groups at colleges and community groups along with drop-in sessions at bus stations across the county.

Over the next seven weeks, people can provide feedback on how they find travel information and whether they agree with the digital first approach.

Find out more about how you can have your say.

As well as being able to take part online, people will be able to use printed questionnaire to provide feedback via Freepost.

Drop-in events at locations across West Yorkshire will be an opportunity for people to meet the Combined Authority’s Passenger Information team and find out more about the proposals. They will take place between 10am and 2pm on:

  • Friday 26 July at Halifax Bus Station
  • Wednesday 31 July at Huddersfield Bus Station
  • Friday 2 August at Castleford Bus Station
  • Tuesday 6 August at Wakefield Bus Station
  • Wednesday 7 August at Leeds Bus Station
  • Friday 9 August at Keighley Bus Station
  • Wednesday 14 August at Dewsbury Bus Station
  • Thursday 22 August at Bradford Interchange

Questionnaires are available from Bus Station Travel Centres at Centres at Bradford Interchange, Castleford, Dewsbury, Halifax, Huddersfield, Keighley, Leeds, Pontefract and Wakefield bus stations

In March, the Combined Authority’s Transport Committee approved the engagement on a new Bus Information Strategy, which reflects the increasing preference of West Yorkshire passengers for using online bus service information.

Over the past 12 months, almost two million people used the Metro website at www.wymetro.com over 5.85 million times and downloaded 3.2 million bus timetables. Over 500,000 people used the website’s Journey Planner to coordinate almost 1.3m journeys.

Local bus passengers are using their smartphones to access yournextbus, the live, online real-time bus information service around 1.2 million times each month. And people are scanning the QR and NFC tags at West Yorkshire’s 14,000 bus stops and shelters 1 million times per year to access yournextbus.

National data shows that in 2018, 90% of adults were recent Internet users (Office for National Statistics) and that 87% of adults own or have access to a smartphone (Deloitte). Office for National Statistics figures also show that in 2017, just 10% of adults had never used the Internet.

With the local and national move to digital services, the Combined Authority is proposing a similar approach to bus information to ensure it is meeting people’s requirements. Online information will be live, customer-driven, network-wide and inclusive. At the same time it will be cost-effective for local Council Tax-payers.

Large-scale production of printed pocket timetables, which frequently need to be updated and reprinted to reflect service changes, would be reduced along with the need to scrap them in bulk when they go out of date. Slimmed down, cheaper-to-produce versions will still be made available to people who want them.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said:

“We have a target of increasing bus use across West Yorkshire by 25% over the next 10 years, to reduce the economic cost and harmful environmental effects of congestion.

“Ensuring we continue to providing accurate, up-to-date information in the form that people want it will be essential to us achieving that target, which means we need to focus on the digital options people are now using to plan and pay for their travel.

“We recognise that although research by Transport Focus tells us that just 8% of passengers in West Yorkshire still use printed timetables, it is important that we continue to make printed information available, while at the same time ensuring we are achieving cost effectiveness for Council Tax payers.”

Cllr Groves continued: “There is a perception that older people do not use online services but in my view that is doing them a disservice.

“National statistics for the period from 2011 to 2018 show the biggest proportional rise in Internet use in the 65 to 74 and 74-plus age groups.

“We know printed timetables are popular with certain people, including collectors who contact us asking for all the new ones each time they are updated. You can even find out-of-date versions for sale on eBay.

“But, as a public body facing ongoing budget pressures, we need to ensure we deliver the right product in the right formats, including pared-down printed versions. Of course, bus companies are welcome to continue producing fuller, more comprehensive timetables if they think their customers want them.”

The results of this engagement, which closes on Sunday 25 August will be assessed and a final report taken to November’s Combined Authority Transport Committee meeting.