Mayor Tracy Brabin takes buses back under public control in Halifax, Wakefield and Dewsbury

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin has decided to take control of the region’s buses.
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The new public control model, or “franchising”, will see bus companies across Halifax, Wakefield and Dewsbury operate under contract to the mayor.

It will mean routes, frequencies, and fares would be set by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), instead of by the bus companies.

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A three-month period of consultation showed that almost three-quarters of people were in support of the plans, with a further 10 per cent saying that they supported the proposals in part.

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy BrabinWest Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin
West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin

A petition had also been launched by campaign group Better Buses for West Yorkshire which accumulated over 12,000 signatures.

The WYCA says that despite its efforts to improve West Yorkshire’s bus services through its Bus Service Improvement Plan, buses remain too infrequent and unreliable to meet passengers’ needs.

This was highlighted by a survey released by Transport Focus yesterday, which saw West Yorkshire ranking the lowest for customer satisfaction.

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Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin said: “I’m delighted to announce that we are taking back control of our buses in West Yorkshire, empowering the public to hold me to account for better services.

“For too long, buses have been run in the interests of private companies, not passengers. Franchising will help us build a better-connected bus network that works for all, not just company shareholders.

“But we know that change will not happen overnight – the hard work we’ve been doing to improve the bus network continues while we work at pace to bring this new way of running the buses to our 2.4m residents.”

Franchising will be introduced in phases, with the first franchised buses up and running in parts of Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield from March 2027.

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In the meantime, the Combined Authority will continue with its Bus Service Improvement Plan which has seen the introduction of the £2 Mayor’s Fares, increased frequencies on key routes, investment in bus stations and shelters and new bus services launching across West Yorkshire.

A new package of bus improvements for services across the region is also set to be announced in May.