Transport Chair responds to bus report and fare rises

"Passengers are being caught between the decline in services and increases in fares," says Cllr Groves

25 October 2019

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee has described the findings of a report showing that funding for buses as £400 million a year lower than it was ten years ago as ‘a further wake up call to the government’ on the state of the bus industry outside London.

Cllr Groves said: “The Prime Minister has said he recognises the importance of buses, but this report by the Campaign for Better Transport showing the dramatic decline in the number of services, confirms the need for more government action on the way buses are organised and funded.

“We are committed to economic growth that benefits everyone and we have also signed up to a zero-carbon City Region by 2038 or sooner and buses have a key role to play in achieving both of those objectives.

“Buses are vital to our local economy, doing the real heavy lifting of connecting people with jobs and opportunities, and they also provide people and communities with vital links that help prevent isolation and all the problems that go with it. And, with one double-deck bus being able to replace up to 75 cars, buses also have a key role to play in combating pollution and climate change.

“However, passengers are being caught between the decline in services and increases in fares as we have just seen in West Yorkshire this weekend, While I was pleased to see that First have frozen or reduced travel cost for young people in line with a central aim of the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance, I am concerned that commuter and families are having to pay more to travel.

“It is because of the importance of bus services to local people that the Combined Authority had led the Alliance, which is already delivering tangible benefits. And, looking out for the interests of local people who make over 150 million bus journeys in West Yorkshire every year is also the reason the Combined Authority is participating in the forthcoming sale of First.

“As the Campaign for Better Transport report makes clear, the government’s promised a National Bus Strategy and multi-year funding settlements represent the potential for a new beginning.

“But we need to see more and I shall continue to make the case for measure that would see our bus networks growing”