Bus Alliance launch
With people using the bus to make almost three million journeys to and from work in West Yorkshire every week, buses are vital to the local economy. That was the message delivered at the launch of the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance in Bradford yesterday.
27 March 2019
The West Yorkshire Bus Alliance brings together the Combined Authority, bus operators Arriva, First and Transdev. It also includes smaller bus operators represented by the Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire (ABOWY).
Customers at the heart of improving services
Yesterday's meeting saw members committing to put customers at the heart of improving services, keeping buses moving and developing a sustainable bus network.
Working together, the Alliance will develop plans to deliver quicker and more reliable journeys, further progress towards carbon-free services, easy-to-understand and affordable fares for people of all ages and better travel advice and journey planning information are all Alliance commitments. Improved customer service and facilities, such as more, free Wi-Fi and USB charging points, are also promised.
Big Meet Up
Monday 18 March's Big Meet Up was an all-day event to set out how the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance is going to achieve these aims and increase local bus use.
During the event, there were roundtable discussions on a number of key themes. These included Ticketing and Affordability, Customer Service, Clean Bus Technology and Travel Information. Debates on The Network, Highway Infrastructure and Travel Information Communication and Engagement also took place.
Among the positive starting points discussed at yesterday's Big Meet Up were the fact that through MCard, West Yorkshire has the largest travel smartcard scheme of its kind outside London's Oyster card. The success of park and ride at Elland Road and Temple Green in Leeds, which are removing 9,000 car journeys from city centre's streets was also mentioned.
Other key positives were the Combined Authority's extension of half-fare travel to all under 19s living in West Yorkshire, the online availability of real-time information at all the county's 14,000 bus stops and shelters. Importantly there is the investment by the bus of millions in new, ultra-low emission buses that are more comfortable and include Wi-Fi and USB chargers.
Last year's introduction of the popular, £2.75 countywide MyDay bus ticket for under 19s, through the Bus18 initiative was also seen as a success. Established in 2017, Bus18 saw the Combined Authority working with Arriva, First and Transdev to West Yorkshire bus travel better. Its achievements included a guarantee by the three bus companies to provide a free travel voucher to any passengers not happy with their bus journey. Customers whose last bus fails to arrive within 20 minutes of the scheduled time can now get the cost of a taxi fare home reimbursed.
Lasting through to 2022, the new West Yorkshire Bus Alliance will be based on legal provisions recently introduced by the government for Voluntary Partnership Agreements. These are defined by the Department for Transport as agreements entered into by transport authorities and bus operators, to deliver benefits to local bus users.