Young people’s nationwide bus guide commends West Yorkshire initiative

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee today welcomed the inclusion of a West Yorkshire initiative in a new Transport Focus report on improving bus services for young people.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee today welcomed the inclusion of a West Yorkshire initiative in a new Transport Focus report on improving bus services for young people.

Among the examples in its new good practice guide ‘Making bus a better choice for young people’ Transport Focus cites last year’s Bus18 initiative to remove the need for school pupils to show ID to prove their age when wearing school uniform.

Bus18 partnership

During consultations, local young people told the Bus18 partnership that the fact they were in uniform made it clear they qualify for half-fare. As a result, the change was introduced from the start of 2018.

The Transport Focus report describes the measure as a “simple, common-sense improvement to the customer”, says it “removes a barrier to travel” that “Takes away an area of anxiety for young people” and “Makes it easier and nicer for drivers too”.

West Yorkshire Bus Alliance

Cllr Groves said: “Making bus travel more attractive, accessible and affordable for young people across West Yorkshire is one of the key aims of the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance, which was formed out of Bus18 so I’m pleased to see this initiative included as an example of good practice in Transport Focus’s report.

“The report asks whether the scheme could be extended to evenings and weekends and I am looking at ways in which we can forge a new deal as well as doing away with the need for under 16s to show ID to get a reduced fare.”

Launched earlier this year, the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance brings together the Combined Authority, bus operators Arriva, First and Transdev. It also includes smaller bus companies brought together through the through Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire. Its aim is to put customers, including young people, at the heart of improving services, keeping buses moving and developing a sustainable bus network.

Bus18 was the Alliance’s predecessor which saw the Combined Authority and West Yorkshire bus companies working more closely.

Barrier

Cllr Groves added: “Ensuring bus travel is  accessible and attractive for young people though initiatives such as this is hugely important because the feedback we receive from those young people is that transport can be a barrier to them accessing education, training and employment opportunities.

“In 2015, the Combined Authority raised the cut off point for half-fare bus travel in West Yorkshire from 16 to 18 and despite the ongoing pressure on our budgets, we remain committed to continuing or annual £10 million investment in providing that half-fare travel.

“Looking ahead, I want to see the Bus Alliance build upon the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s commitment to investing in young people.”

 

Nationwide conversation

‘Making bus a better choice for young people’  is the outcome of and initiative that took place earlier this year, which saw bus operators and local authorities taking part in workshops convened by Transport Focus to start a nationwide conversation on how to make buses more appealing to young people. The report's key recommendations are for:

  • Smart fares – discounted fares for 16 to 18-year olds that are easy to buy and understand.

  • One stop nationwide bus app – one central source for information and ticketing provided by the bus industry that is intuitive, easy-to-use and accessed via an app that will earn its place on a young person’s phone.

  • Better on board – Wi-Fi and USB charge points at every seat.

Ordering pizza

Launching the ‘Making bus a better choice for young people’ David Sidebottom, director at Transport Focus, said: “More bus operators and local authorities are pursuing creative initiatives that encourage young people to catch the bus.

“Young people are the biggest users of the bus – but don’t feel services are designed for them.

“Young people want using the bus to be as simple and intuitive as ordering pizza. Bus operators and local authorities must seize the opportunity to cater for their customers of the future.”

Buses Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Young people take the bus more often than any other age group, so this research is vital in showing how to encourage them to continue to use buses in the future – both councils and bus companies should follow this best practice."

Download a copy of ‘Making bus a better choice for young people’

Find out more about the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance