WEST Yorkshire Combined Authority continues to call for a long-term funding solution to support public transport as schools look to reopen in September.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Combined Authority has been paying £3million per month for journeys that are not happening with leaders warning this is creating significant financial pressure and is unsustainable in the long-term.

While current government guidelines state that no social distancing will be needed on dedicated school buses, pupils who use regular bus services will need to maintain social distancing. But without a long-term funding solution from government, the ability to provide additional bus services for schools returning in September may be under threat.

The Combined Authority has extended the deadline for applications for school bus passes until July 31, 2020 and will communicate arrangements directly with parents and schools for services that have a bus pass system. Further information can be found at www.wymetro.com/schools.

Cllr Kim Groves, chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said more buses will be needed.

Cllr Groves explained: “In West Yorkshire, the Combined Authority is working closely with schools and our Councils to arrange the transport necessary to make the return to school safe and successful for pupils across the region.

“However, to ensure safe social distancing we will need to commission extra buses and we are in discussions with Government on the costs of this.

“We continue to work with bus operators and others to make sure the transport network is as resilient as possible. We are seeking a long-term funding solution with the Department for Transport to ensure we can maximise capacity on the network while maintaining social distancing.”