Transport Committee to discuss future bus provision as Government funding set to end

Meeting to take place at Wellington House in Leeds on Friday 1 July

Withdrawal of government funding for bus operators and the impact this will have on local bus services will be on the agenda at the next meeting of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee on Friday 1 July.

Members will hear about the ending of the Bus Recovery Grant, the effects this could have on the region’s bus network, and the steps the Combined Authority is taking to try and mitigate them. The funding, of over £1 million per month, is set to end in October.

The Combined Authority financially supports 22% of the current network. A Sustainability Review of the network required by government has found that up to 62 routes could be affected and 11% of the current network would be financially unviable if government funding to operators was withdrawn, with the potential to affect communities across West Yorkshire.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“I’ve been pressing government ministers and will continue to make the case for further funding for bus operators beyond October. I also hope the bus companies will understand this is a transition period and that they will need to take some of the financial strain. We cannot create a truly transformational bus network if we only stick to those routes that make the most money, there is a balance to be struck.

“The people of West Yorkshire deserve a service that serves all our communities rather than only running the routes that make substantial profits. We and government supported the bus companies throughout Covid. I hope they will now step up and stay the course with us to deliver our ambitious programme of investment in our region’s bus network.”

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee and Leader of Bradford Council, said:

“Sustaining economic recovery is going to need all our efforts and resources, both at regional and national level. High-quality public transport is essential for our West Yorkshire economy.

“We’re doing our part by investing in infrastructure, new ticket types and new buses – now we need government to continue their Covid support to the bus operators, and for the operators to work with us to get people back onto our buses.”

“But government needs to play its part as well in supporting bus and rail companies and services, to keep our post-pandemic economic growth going. With this latest Government cut over ten per cent of our network is at risk, including evening and Sunday services.

Members will discuss plans to spend around £100 million on projects including the A638 Doncaster Road in Wakefield, Leeds Station Sustainable Travel Gateway, the first three Leeds City Centre Cycle Connectivity routes, the first steps to bring 111 zero emission buses to West Yorkshire and the new £2 maximum single fare and £4.50 day ticket proposed for introduction in September as part of the Combined Authority’s Bus Service Improvement Plan.