'We need transparency': Mayor demand as government announces £150m safeguard of local transport services

The Mayor of West Yorkshire has called for more transparency following the Government's £150m package of support to vital bus and light rail services across the country.

By Alex Grant
Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 11:45 am

The new deal ensures services will continue running as operators and local authorities work towards a sustainable future.

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Bus and light rail operators across England will benefit from over £150m of Government support, ensuring services continue to run and millions of passengers can continue to get around as the country emerges from the pandemic.

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Residents in Wakefield and Kirklees saw a reduction to their services last weekend and Mayor Brabin is keen for the pledged money to be used in the right way. Picture: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images.

“The funding I’ve announced today will ensure millions of us can continue to use vital public transport services, and brings the total we’ve provided to the sector to keep services running throughout the pandemic to over £2 billion." said, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.

“Not only that, as we look ahead and continue our work to overhaul services and build back better from the pandemic, this funding will also help authorities and operators work together to provide even better services for people right across the country.”

The pledge represents the final tranche of pandemic-related support to operators and will run for six months until October 2022.

Following the announcement, Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, expressed concern about the lack of transparency in the plans.

“While I welcome this funding, we still don’t know what it means for West Yorkshire operators, services and passengers." she said.

"We need transparency around how much money is available and what happens when it ends in October. We have ambitious plans for buses in West Yorkshire, but we need a stable network upon which to build."

Residents in Wakefield and Kirklees saw a reduction to their services last weekend and Mayor Brabin is keen for the pledged money to be used in the right way.

“Buses are a vital means for many people to get around, to work, healthcare, social activities and education. I very much believe buses are an essential public service." she said.

“Operators need to use this time to get more people onto buses, and not use it to further reduce bus routes and frequency."

The Government is hopeful that the additional funding will support local authorities and operators across England as they continue working on Bus Service Improvement Plans and delivering substantive improvements to local services.

“I urge government to work with me and other Mayors to bring stability and certainty to our local bus networks with some long-term, strategic funding instead of making decisions at the last possible moment.” Mayor Brabin, added.

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