Why Leeds city council wants to take back control of bus services

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Re-nationalisation of buses is one way in which social inequality through transport can be tackled in Leeds, say city leaders.

Taking back control of budgets, fares, services and routes is the best way that Leeds can make sure that its communities and people that are, for a variety of reasons, the most reliant on buses don’t get left behind.

The Yorkshire Evening Post campaign is highlighting inequality in the city.

The Yorkshire Evening Post campaign is highlighting inequality in the city.

Council leader Judith Blake said: “It is clear there is a lot of noise and debate, and rightly so, about the difficulty on rail in the last 15 months but we would like to see equivalent focus and attention on the lack of reliability and investment on buses.

“Within West Yorkshire we would like to be in a position to talk about re-nationalisation of bus services. This is one of the main arguments for devolution. We don’t know what the current secretary of state’s views are and that is a conversation that we are pursuing.

“Ideally it would be for the whole of Yorkshire but in the interim so that we can get more control and power of the services in the city.”

Her comments come as part of the Yorkshire Evening Post's latest feature on the inequality series, A City Divided, which is taking a look at the growing gulf of life in Leeds.

Council leader, Judith Blake says city's public transport would be better under local authority control.

Council leader, Judith Blake says city's public transport would be better under local authority control.

Read more: https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/people/what-it-s-really-like-to-get-into-leeds-on-the-city-s-bus-network-1-9967304
Coun Blake said this would give Leeds City Council more ability to tackle the areas where it knows there is a lack of provision and also where it knows there is a higher dependency on buses because people don’t have cars.

These sometimes rural and isolated areas and also routes through housing estates that are a long walk from the main roads and routes would be the areas that the council says it could re-instate a service.

She added: “The real flaw for me is that providers running bus services need to make a profit, they will focus on the more profitable routes. West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) subsidises some of the less profitable routes but in the last round of austerity cuts there is less money for WYCA and less money for the routes that are a lifeline in the areas that people don’t have the luxury of private cars to support their transport needs.

“Bus services are that – they are a service that should respond to the needs of the population.”