Plea to allow councils to run bus services

MINISTERS WILL be urged to let local authorities run their own bus services by a senior figure in Yorkshire transport today.

Keith Wakefield

Coun Keith Wakefield, chairman of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s transport committee, will argue the measure is crucial to the improvement of bus services.

A Bill currently going through Parliament promises the biggest change in the rules governing bus services since deregulation 30 years ago.

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Coun Wakefield will call on the Government to back changes to the Bill which would allow combined authorities to eastablish bus companies.

Combined authorities bring together councils to work on areas such as transport and skills. Yorkshire has two covering West and South Yorkshire.

Transport bodies across the country see the Buses Bill as an opportunity to take more control over how local services are run and tackle some of the problems thrown up by deregulation.

The Bill should see all parts of the country able to franchise bus services in the same way as London already does.

Speaking at a conference on the future of regional transport in Leeds today, Coun Wakefield will emphasise the importance of local bus services which are responsible for 3.5m journeys in West Yorkshire each week, around 10 times more than rail.

Coun Wakefield will use the event, organised by The Business Association and hosted by law firm DWF at its Bridgewater Place offices, to welcome the Government’s renewed commitment to developing high speed trans-Pennine rail services, known as Northern Powerhouse Rail.

But he will argue that the Leeds City Region needs further investment in transport if the area is to achieve its full economic potential.