Have your say on improving bus services

People in Leeds are being encouraged to get on board with a public consultation process that will help shape the future of the city’s bus services.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has launched the consultation to gather views on the possible introduction of a county-wide bus franchising system.

The system would give WYCA responsibility for matters – such as the setting of fares, routes and service frequency – that are currently under the control of private operators.

WYCA’s consultation runs until January 7 2024 and is open to all individuals and organisations.

The feedback received will be considered by Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, as she prepares to make her decision on whether to press ahead with the franchising scheme.

Leeds City Council’s support for the idea was confirmed at a meeting of its executive board yesterday (Wednesday 13 December).

And, with just over three weeks to go until the consultation window closes, the council is keen for as many local residents as possible to have their say on the issue as well.

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“I am pleased that executive board has confirmed the council’s support for the introduction of a bus franchising system in Leeds and the rest of West Yorkshire.

“I would also like to encourage people to take the opportunity offered by the consultation process to get involved and make their voices heard.”

Following yesterday’s executive board meeting, the council will now submit a formal response to WYCA detailing its support for franchising.

The response will set out the council’s views on the strategic importance of bus services and the part they play in delivering the kind of connectivity that can drive economic growth and put people within easier reach of jobs and other opportunities.

It will also highlight how improvements to the local bus network – and integration with any future mass transit scheme – will help the council achieve success in key policy areas such as health and wellbeing and tackling the climate emergency.

Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for sustainable development and infrastructure, said:

“It’s imperative that bus services, not just here in Leeds but across the whole of West Yorkshire, are as accessible, reliable and affordable as they can be.

“By providing connectivity and opportunities, they can help the city and all of its communities unlock their full economic potential.

“The fact that 30 per cent of residents in Leeds do not have access to a car only serves to highlight the vital role that public transport has to play in improving lives and boosting inclusive growth.

“The plans being considered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority are an opportunity to reshape the local bus network and, given the breadth and scale of the proposed scheme’s ambition, it’s really important that as many people as possible have their say.”

Click here for further information about the consultation process as well as online links to relevant questionnaires.

People who would like to request consultation materials in a different format are asked to e-mail bus.reform@westyorks-ca.gov.uk, ring (0113) 245 7676 or write to FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM WYCA.

The Mayor of West Yorkshire’s decision on the franchising scheme is expected in March next year.

 

This post is based on a press release issued by Leeds City Council

 

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