Bus services across West Yorkshire are poised for a substantial enhancement, with the introduction of new and more frequent services in February, thanks to a significant investment from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
The initiative aims to establish fresh connections between Huddersfield and Halifax while concurrently elevating the service frequency on crucial routes throughout the region. The Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, has championed this move as part of her commitment to creating a more interconnected region.
The Mayor said; “Better bus services are a vital part of my mission for a better-connected West Yorkshire.
“I’m delighted that these new and improved services will be hitting our streets next month – connecting communities, reducing reliance on cars and getting people where they need to go.”
The bus industry has grappled with challenges stemming from alterations in post-Covid travel patterns, leading to diminished revenues and necessitating route and frequency reductions by operators.
During the upcoming Transport Committee meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, members will be apprised that numerous services across the region will experience an increase in frequency from mid-February. Of note is the commendable improvement in Wakefield, where eight services will see evening frequencies elevated from one bus per hour to one every 30 minutes.
Furthermore, new links will be forged between key destinations such as Huddersfield and Halifax town centres, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, and Calderdale Royal Hospital. This collaborative effort involves the partnership with operator First.
In collaboration with Transdev Blazefield, the Combined Authority previously introduced more affordable and frequent services linking Leeds, Keighley, and Shipley in September, resulting in a nearly 30 per cent surge in passenger numbers.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, highlighted the success of the Keighley scheme, affirming, “The success of the Keighley scheme shows that investment into our bus network yields results. We know there is still work to do, but we’re committed to making the bus a reliable, affordable, and convenient way of getting around West Yorkshire.”
Kayleigh Ingham, Commercial Director of First West Yorkshire, welcomed the service improvements, emphasizing their commitment to working closely with the Combined Authority to enhance the network and improve services for residents.
Transport Committee members are set to consider releasing an additional £3.2 million from the Combined Authority’s Bus Service Improvement Programme (BSIP) to facilitate the launch of the new Huddersfield to Halifax services and another upcoming service in Wakefield, scheduled for later in the year.
Anticipating continued success, a subsequent round of service enhancements is planned for July 2024, contingent on the approval of additional funding and procurement processes.