Public transport to be at the heart of West Yorkshire’s recovery

Transport Committee to discuss new Fare Deal for Young People and MCard mobile ticketing to encourage people back to public transport

Encouraging people back to public transport and the role of flexible ticketing as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed will be discussed at this week’s meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee.

Members will discuss how measures including the new Fare Deal for Young People and the new MCard Mobile App, believed to be the first in the UK to allow customers to purchase and use tickets via smartphone to travel on both bus and rail services, will be important in encouraging people to return.

Later in the year, passengers will be able to buy blocks of up to ten tickets and activate them on the days they are needed via MCard Mobile – a response to the changing commuter patterns expected as more people return to their workplaces.

The Fare Deal for Young People means that under-19s will be guaranteed that they will pay no more than £1.20 for a single bus journey throughout the county under a new simplified single fare structure.

Passenger numbers on the region’s bus services have fallen to around 30% of their usual levels since the latest lockdown begin while on rail services the fall is to between 5 and 15% of pre-pandemic levels.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: “We will be working with our partners, including the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance, to encourage people back onto public transport as the region emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Offering flexibility on tickets to reflect changing travel patterns and ensuring there is confidence that public transport is safe to use will be crucial to getting people back onto trains and buses as the restrictions are eased.

“We need public transport to be at the heart of the recovery to support our town and city centres and connecting people to jobs while keeping congestion down, improving air quality and reducing transport’s impact on the environment.”

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee will meet at 11am on Friday 12 March. The meeting can be viewed here.

Find out more about the updated MCard app here.