Securing and improving bus services for passengers

Transport Committee discusses the opportunities and risks

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee today discussed the opportunities and risks emerging from the potential sale of First Bus and Arriva operations as plans for the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance move forward.

The Combined Authority is engaging with both companies on their plans and seeking opportunities to hold discussions with any potential buyers of bus operations in West Yorkshire.

It is considering all options to ensure services vital to our communities and economy are safeguarded. This may involve taking into public control, bus services which are currently provided by bus companies on a commercial basis. 

The Combined Authority has also approached the Department for Transport to alert it to the potential risks to bus services in the region and has asked for a review of the current model of bus service governance and regulation in the event that the sales process reaches an a unsatisfactory outcome.

The Committee discussed the issue as Members were updated on the progress of work to improve services through the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance which will deliver quicker journeys and easy-to-understand and affordable fares for people of all ages.

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

“Driving up bus usage is essential in our efforts to grow the region’s economy while cutting congestion and improving air quality and we are confident our exciting plans in partnership with the bus operators will do just that.

“However we also have to acknowledge the uncertainty created by recent announcements. With 85 per cent of public transport journeys in West Yorkshire taken by bus, it is essential that services continue uninterrupted.

“We will be impressing on the current operators and any potential buyers the need to ensure services are safeguarded through any sale process and we continue to move forward with our plans through the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance.

“It is only prudent that we also prepare to respond to any circumstances which puts vital services at risk.”