This is when West Yorkshire bus services could come under public control, according to a new report
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At the time it was said the process would not be a quick one, but a newly released document by West Yorkshire Combined Authority reveals that any franchising arrangement may not be completed for another five years.
The Authority’s Transport Committee were given an update on bus reform last month, when members were given an idea of the scale of the work required.
A timetable of the process was included in the report.
It says the next step will be an audit into the plans. This will be followed by a three-month public consultation into franchising next Summer.
After that, work to develop the franchising scheme would begin.
The final decision on whether buses would be brought into public ownership would be made by the West Yorkshire Mayor in early 2024.
The franchising arrangements would then be introduced in phases between late 2025 and early 2027.
The report says challenges of the franchising will be declining passenger numbers, unreliable services, and a reliance on public funds to prop up bus routes.
But it says franchising could help grow the network, improve reliability and integrate services with the planned mass transit network for West Yorkshire.
Members heard there would be a number of different options for how bus franchising would look.
One form would see the Combined Authority owning all depots and vehicles, and take full ownership of the “fare box revenue.”
Another would see the Combined Authority taking full ownership of the fare box revenue, but commission services from operators who would continue to own the depots and assets.
A third option would involve the Combined Authority utilising the relevant powers to take control over the network, but agreeing fares and pricing strategy with operators who take some of the profits and share the revenue risk. Operators would also continue to own the depots and assets.
The committee heard the authority would look at these different options, as well as consulting authorities like Greater Manchester – which is well into its own franchising process.
The report said: “London is the only current franchised system in operation in England. Under this system, in contrast to other areas where the local bus systems were deregulated in 1987, bus patronage has grown significantly since then.”
Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporting Service