29 October 2021
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) has been published today and the video brings to life some of the issues the Mayor hopes to address for bus passengers in West Yorkshire. In the short online film, she talks through why her pledges to have more local control of buses, introduce simpler fares, contactless ticketing, implement more greener buses, improve the frequency and punctuality of services, and extend the bus network into more communities are so important.
In her video, Tracy Brabin travels on a route from Rodley to Leeds, chatting about the challenges with our local bus services which the BSIP aims to tackle. These include safety at bus stops, connectivity across West Yorkshire and ticket prices.
West Yorkshire’s Bus Services Improvement Plan was approved at a meeting of the Combined Authority on Friday 22 October. It includes plans for:
- Cheaper fares – via a “tap and go” system which means passengers are charged the best price for their journey and never more than a £4.40 daily cap.
- Simplified fares - passengers will be able to purchase one ticket regardless of which bus company provides the service.
- Reduced journey times – new priority lanes and road improvements will allow buses to move through traffic more freely with the aim of reducing average bus journey times by 10% in the next four years, and by 15% by 2030.
- Improved punctuality - to 95% by March 2025 (from 88% in March 2019).
- A journey satisfaction guarantee - if passengers are not happy with the service, they receive their money back, or their next journey for free.
- A ‘last journey promise.’- if the final bus service of the day on a route is late or cancelled, taxi fares will be reimbursed.
- More bus services and routes - the aim is for more bus routes to operate every 15 minutes or more frequently and to offer more early morning and evening services to help families with children and shift workers. And to extend routes into more communities to improve the inclusivity of the bus network.
- Better travel information and customer support - the MCard Mobile app introduced earlier this year will be expanded to enable people to plan journeys, buy tickets and view live travel information throughout the West Yorkshire bus network.
- Improved safety - a partnership with West Yorkshire Police, to make bus travel safer for everyone, including women and girls. This will also include enhanced lighting and CCTV at bus stops.
- Greener buses - a commitment to a carbon-zero bus fleet by 2036, and all buses will be Euro VI or zero emission by 2026.
- Improved customer service - all customer facing staff, including drivers will receive enhanced training to ensure the highest quality service is provided.
Improvements to bus stations in Halifax, Leeds, Huddersfield, and Dewsbury are also planned. The BSIP aims to encourage more people in the region to travel by bus, improve bus travel experience, and enhance transport connectivity. These improvements are planned to increase bus usage by 6% by 2025.
The BSIP has been produced in partnership with bus operators and local authorities in response to the government’s National Bus Strategy. The Combined Authority is bidding for a share of £3 billion from the Department for Transport to deliver the BSIP. Following today’s submission, confirmation of funding is expected in early 2022.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:
"I’m a regular bus user, and as your mayor the voice of the passenger, I’m really aware of the issues bus users in West Yorkshire might face. The video was produced – from an actual West Yorkshire bus – to highlight some challenges experienced on just one route and to learn how we can improve our current services. Last week was the 35th anniversary of bus deregulation in England and it’s widely accepted, even by the Government, that this hasn’t worked
35 years on, this is our plan to put things right, radically improve buses in our region and have more local control of services. We want buses to be the first choice for travel in West Yorkshire - not because you don’t have a car - but because they’re more affordable, convenient to use, and better for the environment."