Private sector transport bosses will be in the firing line as the latest phase of an inquiry into plummeting bus passenger numbers in Leeds gets under way.
Leeds City Council’s sustainable economy and culture scrutiny board began looking into the reasons for falling passenger levels at the end of last year.
Now a forthcoming meeting of the scrutiny board is set to give its members the chance to quiz representatives of private operators, including First – the biggest bus firm in Leeds.
The Parliamentary select committee-style session will take place at Leeds Civic Hall next Thursday at 10am and is open to members of the public.
Scrutiny board chair Coun Mohammed Rafique told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Bus patronage has declined and there are obviously questions for us to ask on a topic that is important to a great many people.”
Transport industry bosses confirmed to attend include Dave Alexander, regional managing director (North) of First Group, and Nigel Featham, managing director of bus company Arriva Yorkshire.
Keith McNally, chair of the Association of West Yorkshire Bus Operators, is also due to be present.
Passengers will be represented by figures including Georgiana Weatherill, environmental and sustainability manager at Leeds City College.
The scrutiny board inquiry was launched in an attempt to find ways to encourage more people to use buses in Leeds.
It followed figures which showed that passengers made an estimated 180 million journeys in the city in 2011-12, compared to 235 million in 1995-96.
Bus operators have faced criticism in recent years over fare rises and confusing timetable shake-ups.
A document compiled by First for councillors ahead of next week’s meeting reveals its ticket prices rose by 54 per cent between 2004 and 2012.
As previously reported by the YEP, however, First has kicked off 2013 with something of a charm offensive.
It has announced a fares freeze in West Yorkshire and from this Sunday will be introducing revised timetables that it says will improve punctuality in Leeds.
Arriva Yorkshire hiked the price of a number of its single fares on January 13.