REPRESENTATIVES from local Councils have discussed the Catch 22 situation that leads to people sticking to travelling by car rather than moving to public transport.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee were given an update on the MCard at its last meeting.

The Oyster card style service allows people to travel on the local rail and bus network, and members were told about the scheme’s successes and where it needs to improve.

Richard Armitage, chair of the West Yorkshire Ticketing Company, told members of efforts to encourage more people to ditch cars and move to buses and trains.

Reliability was a major factor in people choosing to travel by buses - he told the meeting.

He added: “To get more people on the buses we need to beat congestion. We want to boost patronage, but we are being held back by congestion.

Bradford bus forced to divert 'due to badly parked cars'

“If we get vehicles out of the way of our buses then we will see growth in bus use. Anything you can do to help clear this congestion needs to be done.

“We can’t have the situation when people going to the same place all jump into separate cars to get there.”

Kirklees Councillor Martyn Bolt said: “It is important that bus operators provide the routes where people want to use them.

“There is no direct service from Huddersfield to Leeds.

“If you want to get cars out from in front of the busses people need to know they have a reliable service that can transport them.

“At the moment I can get from Huddersfield to Leeds a lot faster on a push bike than a bus.”

Mr Armitage added: “If we want bus growth we need to see action on congestion.”

Bus routes in Bradford are regularly delayed or re-routed due to congestion or poor parking.

This weekend First Bus had to re-route 626 service - running from Bradford to Baildon - after the bus encountered “badly parked cars” on Cliffe Lane West.

As part of the West Yorkshire Transport Strategy work is being done to deal with “hot spots” that can cause problems for buses. Work could include traffic orders to prevent problem parking.

Members of the Transport Committee were told that the M Cards have created £35 million in sales revenue, with 1.3 million MCards sold for bus and train travel in West Yorkshire in 2018/19.

The past year has seen a rise in under 19s using the cards, leading to a seven per cent rise in revenue from this demographic.

A new IOS and android app for the card will be launched in March - members were told.

However, Mr Armitage said sales of one of the tickets, a group day saver, had proved disappointing. He added: “It is £23 for five people to travel anywhere in one day. It is a fantastic offer, but it is not selling well.”

He said the scheme was constantly under review, and that the group was looking at changing behaviour. Issues like flexible working, zero hours contracts and an increase in working from home meant people were looking at more flexibility from the scheme.