Bus companies have announced what they describe as a “dynamic new plan” for the future of bus services in West Yorkshire.
Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin is currently consulting over how people want to see buses operated across the county in the future.
Mayor Brabin’s preferred option is ‘franchising’ to bring buses back under the control of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
However, bus companies have now joined forces to push for what they call a “dynamic new plan for bus reform.”
What the operators propose is ‘Enhanced Partnership Plus’ which they say will deliver benefits for customers including accelerating public control without the burden and financial risk of a franchise model.
An independent auditor who reported to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority said the Enhanced Partnership Plus (EPP) would deliver “value for money.”
EPP would see the bus network controlled through a Network Management Group, overseen by the Combined Authority. The operators say it would deliver all the benefits of bus reform such as improved reliability, more frequent services, simpler ticketing, unified customer service and electrification of the fleet.
It would provide immediate improvements to bus services, whereas the mayor’s preferred ‘franchising’ route would not come into operation until 2027 at the earliest. The operators’ option also ensures there is less financial risk to West Yorkshire’s public purse.
A spokesperson for the operators said: “We recognise there needs to be reform and firmly believe we can go faster to bring about change.
“In partnership with the Combined Authority and mayoral authority, we’ve jointly rolled out the ‘Mayor’s Fares’ initiative, capping single trips at £2, have made travel for young people under 19 simpler and fairer on any bus and led the way in introducing a greener fleet of buses.
“All of this has been delivered in partnership, which is what makes Enhanced Partnership Plus the stronger and less risky choice to guarantee the best bus service for West Yorkshire.
“We welcome the consultation into the future of bus services in the region and look forward to working with our partners, passengers and the public to arrive at the best solution for everyone in the region.”