A New Deal for Buses in Leeds and West Yorkshire
With the launch of its new Bus Manifesto, Leeds Civic Trust urges Tracy Brabin, newly elected Mayor of West Yorkshire, to take action now to bring our bus service back under public control. A New Deal for Buses in Leeds and West Yorkshire calls for the introduction of bus franchising as the only hope for a radically improved bus service for West Yorkshire. Whilst welcoming the fact that Tracy Brabin is pursuing an “Enhanced Partnership” as envisaged under the new National Bus Strategy as an important first step, the Trust believes that bus franchising is the only way of making the radical improvements that passengers are demanding.
As Leeds Civic Trust Director Martin Hamilton observes, “Our research tells us that residents are sick of unreliable services, expensive fares, and a patchy bus network. We believe that these issues can only be properly addressed if the bus service is brought back into public hands.” He added “This is not an “either, or” situation. The Mayor can pursue an “Enhanced Partnership” now whilst also beginning the formal process to move towards a franchising over the next few years. We urge her to do this.”
The need to back two horses
The new National Bus Strategy requires either an “Enhanced Partnership” or full franchising to be put in place (in return for government funding). It would see an Enhanced Partnership in place within 12 months but also allows for franchising (which would take longer) to be pursued in the longer term. This can happen, but can only if the mayor issues a “Franchising Notice” by the end of June 2021.
Martin Hamilton concluded, “We are currently asking the people of Leeds to tell us how the bus service can be improved. It is clear that many of the improvements they want could only be delivered if the control of the service was back in public hands”.
Leeds Civic Trust has launched a unique community engagement project, calling for residents to Imagine an Excellent Bus Service for Leeds. Hosting a competition of ideas, a survey, interactive map and a series of discussion groups, find out more about how to get involved at ExcellentBusesLeeds.org.uk