‘This is the start of something special’ – Mayor says Big Bus Chat can help revolutionise bus travel for passengers in West Yorkshire
Thousands of people across West Yorkshire have told the Mayor Tracy Brabin what they think of their bus services as she vows to deliver a better-connected region with a public transport system “fit for the future”.
More than 5,000 people took part in surveys, drop-in sessions and community meetings to help Mayor Brabin and her team to get to the heart of what people in West Yorkshire want to see from their bus services.
More than two thirds of respondents said they believed Mayor Brabin’s “Mayor’s Fares” scheme – which makes sure bus companies don’t charge any more than £2 for a single journey – was a good idea.
A further third of people believe the top priority should be protecting services from being withdrawn, as uncertainty continues around the future of certain bus routes in the region.
Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin said: “We are determined to create a better-connected West Yorkshire with cheaper, simpler and more reliable public transport and buses have a key role to play.
“While we were pushing Government to extend funding to keep services running, some bus companies were in their back offices deciding which routes to cut.
“These private operators are showing themselves to be poor custodians of our bus network, and it is time to hit the reset button.
“This is why we’ve been listening to the people of West Yorkshire about how we can improve our bus services to make them fit for the future.”
As part of plans to help improve bus services in the region, the Combined Authority is putting in around £31m towards new and improved services.
A further £37m has been invested in simpler ticketing, including the “Mayor’s Fares” scheme, which subsidises bus operators to cap single fares a £2 and day tickets at £4.50.
Those taking part in the survey also called for more up-to-date information on disruption and delays to services. The Combined Authority is investing in improvements to “real time” passenger information systems and lowering the number of “ghost buses” – instances in which services disappear from live timetables, despite being scheduled.
More information on the Mayor’s Big Bus Chat can be viewed here. Leaders noted the report at today’s Combined Authority Transport Committee.
Notes: The Department for Transport’s Bus Recovery Grant was extended until the summer on Friday, February 17.
The Combined Authority was awarded £69,974,070 by the Department for Transport to support the delivery of its bus service improvement plan.
The plan includes £36.9m on clear and simpler fares – including the Mayor’s fares, while a further £30.9m will go towards growing the bus network and improving services.
The report on the Mayor’s Big Bus Chat has been published today.