'Boycott a bus' call from fares campaigners

CAMPAIGNERS are calling for a Christmas bus boycott in West Yorkshire as a protest against rising ticket prices.

The Leeds-based Fair Fares For All group wants regular bus users to make their journeys by other means of transport on at least one day over the festive period.

And it is asking people who join the boycott to put the money they save to positive use by donating it to charity. Good causes in Leeds suggested as potential beneficiaries include St Gemma's Hospice and St George's Crypt homeless shelter.

Fair Fares For All campaign member Stuart Long said: "There all sorts of ways that people can do their bit.

"If they normally catch a bus to work, why not get a lift with a colleague?

"If they're going out buying Christmas presents and they live close enough to the shops, perhaps they could think about walking?"

Fair Fares For All is also planning a joint day of action next month with the Leeds Student Bus Campaign.

Their members will be out and about collecting petition signatures at bus stops and Leeds's main bus station on January 26.

Previous plans to hold the action day on December 3 were scuppered by bad weather.

Fair Fares For All was set up earlier this year in response to ticket price changes by First, Leeds's biggest bus operator. It wants Metro, West Yorkshire's publicly-funded passenger transport authority, to press ahead with plans for a new contracts system that would weaken the profit-driven private sector's hold over the bus industry.

The Leeds Student Bus Campaign, meanwhile, is calling for better services in Headingley, Hyde Park and the rest of the city's university heartland.