Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, has teamed up with council leaders and regional transport authorities to invigorate several bus routes in the area, making them more affordable and offering increased frequency.
These enhancements, connecting Leeds, Keighley, and Shipley, will take effect starting this weekend. They are part of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s efforts to encourage people to switch from using their cars to utilising public transport.
In total, these improvements will introduce over 1,100 additional bus journeys each month in West Yorkshire. Notably, a flat fare of £1 will be implemented for all passengers on the Keighley town network.
These developments align with the Combined Authority’s initiative to establish a more interconnected West Yorkshire, as outlined in its recently adopted West Yorkshire Plan. The initial implementation of these improvements will be in collaboration with the local bus operator, Transdev Blazefield, through the West Yorkshire Bus Enhanced Partnership.
The changes encompass several aspects:
Passengers within the Keighley town network will enjoy a fixed fare of £1, while the K3 and K7 services will see an increase in frequency, with buses running every ten and twelve minutes, respectively.
Passengers on the number 60 Aireline service will benefit from a new 60A service, operating hourly on Monday to Saturday during the daytime from Shipley to Leeds via Calverley Lane in Rodley, partially replacing the previous 508 route. When combined with the existing 60 services, this will lead to buses between Shipley and Leeds running every 20 minutes instead of half-hourly.
Efforts are underway to secure funding for additional services between Huddersfield and Halifax, as well as the district’s hospitals. Discussions are also ongoing regarding the expansion of services in Wakefield, with plans for introduction in the coming months.
To support these enhanced services, the Combined Authority will contribute funding initially, with operators agreeing to assume the commercial risk in the fourth and fifth years, aiming for long-term financial sustainability.
These improvements will be complemented by changes from other bus operators in the region, including increased frequency on First’s 2, 3, 3A, 12, 13, and 324 services, as well as extensions of more 47 and 47A services to Morley. The Harrogate Bus Company’s 36 service will also see daytime services increase from every 15 to every 10 minutes. Additionally, Arriva is introducing a new 103 service in Wakefield, serving Eastmoor, City Fields, and Pinderfields Hospital.
In the longer term, the Combined Authority is working towards greater public control over bus services, with a consultation on these proposals planned before the end of the year.
Further service enhancements are scheduled for Calderdale and Kirklees in the coming months. The cost of these service improvements, funded through the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), will total around £4.23 million over three years. Discussions are also ongoing with Wakefield to design a tailored package for enhancing local bus provision in the district.
Visiting Keighley Bus Station to announce the changes, Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin said:
“More than 1,100 extra bus journeys per month is a huge boost for bus services in West Yorkshire.
“This is a massive step towards my vision for a better-connected region, where reliable and affordable public transport is the first choice for travel.
“I know that bus services in West Yorkshire have not been good enough – but I am determined to change that with measures like these.
“And this is just the beginning – we are in talks with bus operators and local authorities about how we can build from this scheme to improve services in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield too.”
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said; “We are delighted to launch these service enhancements to boost the bus network across West Yorkshire.
“A £1 Keighley zone flat fare in particular will help encourage more people onto the buses and keep prices down for passengers. It’s another positive step in improving transport links across the district and helping with the cost of living for those wanting to use public transport.
“Delivering cheaper, more reliable bus travel across the region makes sustainable transport an increasingly convenient option and puts customers at the heart of the service.”
Transdev Commercial Director Paul Turner said; “These significant improvements are all about making the bus the natural first choice for journeys into our town and city centres, while delivering all the benefits of lower traffic congestion and cleaner air for everyone.
“The increase to three buses an hour between Shipley and Leeds, plus the return of our Harrogate route 36 to a bus every 10 minutes, will help us to cater for the rising demand for journeys to and from Leeds city centre.
“In partnership with WYCA and with Government support through its Bus Service Improvement Plan, we’ll also introduce more frequent local buses on three of our routes in Keighley, plus a £1 a trip low fare for journeys within the town, including to Airedale Hospital.”
The Combined Authority received substantial funding from the Department for Transport, nearly £70 million, to support the implementation of its Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) last year.