A REGIONAL transport agency could step in to help with the sale of West Yorkshire’s biggest bus company.

A report, set to go before West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) members next week is set to recommend that £200,000 of public money is spent to “assist with the development of options for future bus services” in the region.

It comes following news earlier this year that First Bus Yorkshire, which runs 70 per cent of West Yorkshire’s bus services, was up for sale.

The report adds that WYCA should explore options arising from the sale, including “participating in the sale”. It also mentioned Arriva, which runs a further 18 per cent of the region’s bus services, and is also up for sale by its parent company.

Bus investment 'could help reverse declining passenger numbers'

It is, however, unclear from the report as to whether WYCA would look into setting up a region-wide governmental transport body to run bus services itself – a model adopted in London with TfL.

The report stated: “The outcome of the change in ownership of these companies is of major significance to how people get around the region.

“It is therefore recommended that the Combined Authority explores options to actively respond to this situation and considers options available to invest to secure the continuity and growth of bus services in West Yorkshire.

“It is understood that the sale of First West Yorkshire and the other First bus operating companies will be undertaken through an open process. There is therefore a potential opportunity to engage in the process.”

It added: “Delivering a successful partnership is an important step to demonstrate that the Combined Authority and the bus operators of West Yorkshire can together deliver a successful bus network.”

It follows an announcement from First Group PLC to its shareholders back in May, that it was: “pursuing structural alternatives to separate our First Bus operations from the Group”.

The item will be discussed at a full WYCA meeting on Thursday, October 10.