Plan for 'radical change to local buses' in West Yorkshire is finalised

A detailed plan to “deliver radical change to local buses” in West Yorkshire is due to be submitted to the Government this month.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority said the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) aims to deliver a more cohesive public transport network that caters to passenger’s needs

West Yorkshire Combined Authority said the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) aims to deliver a more cohesive public transport network that caters to passenger’s needs, clear and simple fares, priority for buses so they spend less time in traffic, improved customer service support and greener vehicles.

The Department for Transport said completing these plans is the “essential first step” and they will be used to determine how Government funding for improvements is allocated from 2022.

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The BSIP sets out a five-year plan for West Yorkshire’s bus network, which promises to “deliver improved consistency, connectivity and convenience for the passenger”.

The key aims include, expanding the number of services and routes so that more people can access a bus that runs every 15 minutes or quicker and ensuring regular services run throughout the day, from early morning until evening, to serve the needs of families with children and shift workers.

There are also plans to reduce the maximum price for a day’s bus travel in West Yorkshire, introduce a tap-and-go system which can be used on services run by different operators across the network and develop more app-based barcode tickets.

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A non-negotiable money back guarantee for unsatisfied passengers and enhanced safety measures, including improved CCTV and lighting at bus stops, have also been proposed.

The plan also sets out a number of targets, such as reducing the average journey time by 10 per cent and increasing bus usage by 6 per cent by 2025.

A WYCA report states: “The BSIP aims to present a bold plan which will deliver radical change to local buses, positioning them as an essential public service for all West Yorkshire’s citizens, and one which is crucial to realising our wider ambitions for the region.”

WYCA is planning to submit the plan to the Government ahead of the deadline on October 31.

There are long-standing concerns about declines in bus usage in Yorkshire, due to service reductions and poor reliability, but West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin has vowed to make a range of improvements and bring buses back under public control.

Earlier this year, the Government vowed to end the "fragmented, fully commercialised" system which operates outside London, when it launched the National Bus Strategy.