Passengers will be able to travel for free – anywhere in West Yorkshire – on Sunday October 31.

The Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, has announced that all bus trips on the last day of the month will be free.

The initiative is to raise awareness of next month’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26).

Tackling the climate emergency and protecting the environment is one of the mayor’s 10 pledges to West Yorkshire and Ms Brabin wants to encourage people to get out of their car and onto public transport.

‘Free Bus Sunday’ will be co-funded by West Yorkshire Combined Authority and West Yorkshire’s bus operators following a suggestion from the mayor. On Sunday October 31, there will be no charge on any bus journey within the districts of Kirklees, Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds and Wakefield.

The plans have been developed by the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance with the participation of all bus operators including FirstArriva and Transdev.

West Yorkshire’s Bus Service Improvement plan (BSIP) will also be discussed at Friday’s Combined Authority meeting. The plan aims to encourage more people in the region to travel by bus, improve the bus travel experience, and enhance transport safety and connectivity.

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The BSIP includes cheaper and simpler fares, reduced journey times, improved punctuality, new routes, mobile digital tickets, improved safety plus better travel information.

The plan also contains a new passenger charter with a journey satisfaction guarantee which means if passengers are not happy with the service, they receive their money back or their next journey for free.

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The plan will be submitted to the Government at the end of October. Confirmation of funding is expected in early 2022.

Ms Brabin said: “We are encouraging everyone in West Yorkshire to get involved in ‘Free Bus Sunday.’

“The day will help raise awareness of the important issues being discussed at COP26; and the need for all of us to respond to the climate crisis by using public transport instead of private cars.

Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin in Huddersfield

“I often use the bus to travel in West Yorkshire and I hope people who don’t normally do this will take a bus journey and be encouraged to use bus travel more often.

“Our long-term plans also mean the experience of bus travel in West Yorkshire will improve even more and ‘Free Bus Sunday’ is just the first step we’re taking to place the bus at the heart of the region’s transport.

“We want buses to be the first choice for travel in West Yorkshire – not because you don’t have a car, but because they’re more affordable, convenient to use, and better for the environment. I hope I can see as many people as possible on board on ‘Free Bus Sunday.”

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COP26 stands for ‘Conference of the Parties.’ This year will be the 26th annual United Nations summit. With the UK as president, COP26 takes place in Glasgow.

In the run up to the event, the UK is working with every nation to reach agreement on measures to tackle climate change which can be agreed at the conference.