Private link could be just the ticket for West Yorkshire buses

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A PROPOSED public-private sector link-up on West Yorkshire’s buses could lead to the introduction of cut-price multi-operator tickets in Leeds.

Private bus firms are pushing for a partnership deal with the recently-formed West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), which includes what was Metro, the county’s passenger transport authority.

A report compiled for a meeting of the WYCA today says the partnership would reduce the number of timetable changes each year, enforce tough new service standard guarantees and pave the way for the launch of Leeds-wide multi-operator tickets.

At present, passengers can pay £14 for a week’s worth of travel in Leeds on bus services run by a single operator such as First.

But people wanting a week’s travel in Leeds on services run by multiple operators have to pay £21.50 for a West Yorkshire-wide pass.

The Leeds-wide multi-operator tickets that would be offered under the new partnership deal would be “significantly” cheaper than the equivalent West Yorkshire pass, says the WYCA report.

The WYCA report says: “These new products would benefit customers and would be expected to lead to patronage growth.”

Bus operators conceived the partnership deal as an alternative to a so-called ‘quality contracts’ scheme that is still being considered by the WYCA.

Quality contracts would see the publicly-funded WYCA taking control of key matters such as fares and routes from profit-driven operators.

The halfway-house partnership approach would give the WYCA more say on services.

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