In an effort to enhance bus services in Calderdale and Kirklees, West Yorkshire Combined Authority has announced a significant investment, drawing praise from local leaders. Cllr Jane Scullion, Leader of Calderdale Council, and Cllr Manisha Kaushik, Kirklees Councillor and Deputy Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, have both expressed their enthusiasm for the funding boost.
The investment, totalling over £4 million, aims to encourage residents to choose bus travel more frequently by making the services more reliable, sustainable, and affordable. Recognising the importance of buses in daily commutes and accessing essential services, Cllr Jane Scullion welcomed the funding as a means of facilitating easier travel options for local residents. She emphasised that improved bus services align with their goals of vibrant towns, reduced inequalities, and climate action through eco-friendly transportation.
Under the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s plan for a better-connected region, the investment will be directed towards Calderdale and Kirklees. The partnership will collaborate with local bus operators, First West Yorkshire and Transdev Blazefield, as part of the West Yorkshire Bus Enhanced Partnership. The Combined Authority has allocated a total of £4.23 million over three years to fund the improvements.
Residents in Calderdale and Kirklees can expect several benefits from the enhanced services. These include more express routes between Huddersfield and Halifax and improved connections between hospitals within the district. Detailed plans outlining the scheme’s operations are currently being finalised in conjunction with the operator.
The funding for the project stems from the Bus Service Improvement Programme (BSIP), which awarded the Combined Authority nearly £70 million last year to support the implementation of its objectives. For the initial three years, the Combined Authority will finance the enhanced services, while the operators, First West Yorkshire and Transdev Blazefield, have agreed to assume commercial risks in years four and five. This collaborative effort aims to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the services.
It is anticipated that the new schemes will be operational from September 2023 onward, ushering in improved connectivity and accessibility for residents in Calderdale and Kirklees. Cllr Manisha Kaushik expressed her excitement about the investment, highlighting the resulting benefits for both areas. She emphasised that the investment would lead to more express services between Huddersfield and Halifax, as well as enhanced links between local hospitals. Furthermore, she underlined the commitment of operators and authorities to prioritise customers and deliver reliable, affordable, and eco-friendly bus services.
With this investment, West Yorkshire Combined Authority is taking strides towards creating a better-connected region with sustainable and efficient public transportation, ultimately improving the lives of residents in Calderdale and Kirklees.