Chiefs back plan for bus ‘quality contracts’

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WEST Yorkshire’s passenger transport authority is pushing ahead with plans to take greater control of bus services across the county with a “quality contracts” scheme.

At a meeting yesterday, Metro approved moves for it to take responsibility for setting routes, fares, timetables and quality standards.

The plan will go to a public consultation before it is then considered by an independent Quality Contract Scheme Board.

Metro Chairman Coun James Lewis has described the all-party decision by the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) as “good news for the county’s bus users”.

He said: “Everyone involved in transport locally realises that we need to do something to make bus travel more attractive and address falling patronage, and that with the taxpayers meeting half the total cost of bus services, there needs to be more accountability.

“Although the ITA welcomed the Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire’s offer of enhanced partnership, the proposals currently fall short in the key areas Metro believes there needs to be change – particularly in providing a seamless, common integrated ticketing option without the confusion caused by the current mix of passes that can only be used on one operator’s services or premium-priced multi-operator passes.”

He said Metro would continue discussions with the bus operators. He added: “I would also like to stress that the authority’s ambition is to work with operators and district councils in making local bus services into a growing, not declining, market which would benefit everyone.”