Residents in Leeds are urged to participate in a public consultation that will play a key role in shaping the future of the city’s bus services.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has initiated this consultation to gather opinions on the potential implementation of a county-wide bus franchising system. This system would grant WYCA authority over aspects currently managed by private operators, including fare determination, routes, and service frequency.

WYCA’s consultation is open until January 7 next year, welcoming input from individuals and organisations alike. The feedback received will be reviewed by Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, who will use it to inform her decision on whether to proceed with the franchising scheme.

Leeds City Council has officially expressed its support for the concept during a recent meeting of its executive board on Wednesday, December 13. As the consultation deadline approaches, the council is eager for local residents to actively participate and share their views on the matter.

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said; “I am pleased that executive board has confirmed the council’s support for the introduction of a bus franchising system in Leeds and the rest of West Yorkshire.

“I would also like to encourage people to take the opportunity offered by the consultation process to get involved and make their voices heard.”

Following yesterday’s executive board meeting, the council will now submit a formal response to WYCA detailing its support for franchising.

The response will set out the council’s views on the strategic importance of bus services and the part they play in delivering the kind of connectivity that can drive economic growth and put people within easier reach of jobs and other opportunities.

It will also highlight how improvements to the local bus network – and integration with any future mass transit scheme – will help the council achieve success in key policy areas such as health and wellbeing and tackling the climate emergency.

Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for sustainable development and infrastructure, said; “It’s imperative that bus services, not just here in Leeds but across the whole of West Yorkshire, are as accessible, reliable and affordable as they can be.

“By providing connectivity and opportunities, they can help the city and all of its communities unlock their full economic potential.

“The fact that 30 per cent of residents in Leeds do not have access to a car only serves to highlight the vital role that public transport has to play in improving lives and boosting inclusive growth.

“The plans being considered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority are an opportunity to reshape the local bus network and, given the breadth and scale of the proposed scheme’s ambition, it’s really important that as many people as possible have their say.”

For additional information on the consultation process and relevant questionnaires, interested parties can click here. Those seeking consultation materials in alternative formats can contact bus.reform@westyorks-ca.gov.uk, call 0113 245 7676, or write to FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM WYCA.

The Mayor of West Yorkshire is anticipated to announce her decision on the franchising scheme in March next year.