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Metro in talks over a better West Yorkshire bus network
11:00am Saturday 27th October 2012 in News
Bus operators and Metro are back in talks over the public transport network.
The number of bus journeys taken in West Yorkshire has fallen from 235 million in 1995-96 to 180m in 2011-12.
The West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority, which is responsible for running the county’s public transport through Metro, wants to create a more joined-up bus network with cheaper tickets.
It has been considering two options and has now pledged to make a decision by the end of the year. The first option is a partnership with local operators who would agree to work closer together to make public transport easier and cheaper to use.
The second option is to create a London-style Quality Bus Contracts scheme, in which the transport authority would control all bus routes and set all fares from 2015, with the operators running them under contract.
The Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire has been vocal in its opposition to the Quality Bus Contracts idea but its first partnership proposal was rejected in June because it did not include plans for a single ticket which people could use with any bus or train company.
Now the authority has said it will consider a revised partnership agreement.
Bus operators’ spokesman Keith McNally said: “We’ve long argued that a QBC scheme is bad news for passengers in the region.
“Nobody is keener on increasing bus passenger usage in the region than the operators, so we hope that these current talks will not only see a withdrawal from the proposed QBC but also involve serious discussions on alleviating road congestion.”
But authority chairman, Councillor James Lewis, said it was not dropping the Quality Bus Contracts option. He said: “The Quality Bus Contract gives us a clear authority to direct and manage bus services in West Yorkshire, to have a properly integrated network.
“I think they [the bus companies], at the moment, have tremendous freedom to increase their revenues by decreasing services or increasing fares without reference to anybody else.”