Chance to bring buses into public ownership a 'golden opportunity' says Yorkshire MP

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves has backed plans which could see some of the region's bus services taken out of private hands.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves.
Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves.

Ms Reeves has written to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) - which looks after transport and large infrastructure projects - backing its plans to buy some local bus services.

It comes after First Group revealed earlier this year that it was looking to sell its bus operations in the UK as part of a company restructure.

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First currently runs around 60 per cent of the region’s buses.

A First Group bus in Leeds.

And at a meeting last week, council leaders said they were considering 'purchasing' the services, suggesting they could be brought under some form of public ownership.Ms Reeves said she supported WYCA’s proposed purchase of FirstBus West Yorkshire and Arriva’s West Yorkshire operations.

In her letter, she said: “This is a golden opportunity for WYCA and the whole of West Yorkshire to take a step forward in the transition of our region’s bus services away from the unreliable and deregulated private system we have become used to, and towards a franchised bus system like that which has been so successful in London – wherein buses are run for people, not for profit.

“It cannot be right that the capital enjoys regular and reliable bus services while great northern cities like Leeds must settle for second-class transport services.

“As importantly, the environmental impact of improved bus services – and the reduction in car usage which they engender – should be both welcomed and encouraged, especially as we work towards tackling the climate crisis.

“I urge the WYCA to act now in order to take this action in order to improve our local bus services, which are so crucial to the lives of so many people in West Yorkshire.”