Cash-back deal on Leeds buses: Pledge to refund taxi ride costs

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WE’RE finally heading in the right direction – that was the reaction today from campaigners after transport bosses launched a radical ‘get your money back’ offer for disgruntled bus users in Leeds and the rest of West Yorkshire.

Passengers who are not happy with their journeys will now be able to claim a free travel voucher from major local operators Arriva Yorkshire, First West Yorkshire and Transdev.

And people can claim back the cost of a taxi ride from the relevant operator if their last bus of the evening fails to turn up within 20 minutes of the scheduled time.

The operators are also promising to improve punctuality on key routes and reduce the number of timetable changes over the course of the next 18 months.

The pledges were given a guarded welcome today by Stuart Long, a Leeds-based campaigner on public transport issues.

He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It’s good to see the operators giving these kinds of assurances, although it seems to me they are things they should be doing anyway. The devil will, as always, be in the detail when it comes to making it all work but this sort of joined-up thinking is broadly something to be welcomed.”

The new promises and offers are key elements of a partnership between Arriva, First and Transdev that has been brokered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).

Given the title Bus 18, the partnership also includes the Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire.

Launching the initiative, WYCA transport chair Coun Keith Wakefield said he was pleased to see commitments being made to tackling issues raised during recent passenger consultations on the state of bus travel in the county.

Details of the partnership have been announced in the wake of a week-long YEP focus on problems with bus services in Leeds and their impact on people’s daily lives.

Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake also recently revealed that some residents in her Middleton Park ward had complained that they had lost jobs due to buses running late.