Government funding for West Yorkshire buses 'not enough' as new £7bn funding package for northern cities announced

A West Yorkshire bus campaigner feels the Government's newly announced £7bn funding package to improve bus services across northern cities will not be enough.

By Alex Grant
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 4:45 am

Grant Shapps made the announcement earlier today with it hoped that lower, simpler bus fares will help tackle cost-of-living pressures.

Read More

Read More
Mass delays for holidaymakers travelling from Leeds Bradford Airport as ongoing ...

31 counties, city regions and unitary authorities have been chosen for funding to level up their local bus services in the latest awards from the Government's bus transformation programme.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Grant Shapps made the announcement earlier today with it hoped that lower, simpler bus fares will help tackle cost-of-living pressures. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

It is hoped the investment will help northern cities join London, with the bus becoming a natural choice for everyone, not just those without cars.

The funding is less than a fifth of what West Yorkshire asked for in its Bus Service Improvement Plan bid, however.

Matthew Topham, Campaigner at Better Buses for West Yorkshire, fears the announcement will leave Mayor Tracy Brabin's new bus partnership on shaky ground.

"Without that money, the mayor's new enhanced partnership deal with the private bus companies (a sort of gentleman's agreement where private operators promise some changes in return for increased investment from the local authority) looks on very shaky ground." he said.

"At a time of crisis, when local bus operators are cutting services despite having their shortfall funded by the Government, we need every power at our disposal to protect local people's pockets, including those only legal under bus franchising.

"We cannot afford the ongoing delays to bringing buses into public control."

Today's funding follows the announcement last week of £200 million for almost 1,000 new electric or hydrogen buses.

This brings the total funded in England to 2000.

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United. With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.