West Yorkshire buses: Leeds council pledges support for London-style bus franchising as consultation continues
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Public control, the system used in London, is also sometimes called re-regulation or franchising. Currently, bus companies have powers over routes, fares, and standards but re-regulation means they operate under contract to the Mayor, who sets the terms of service.
Deputy Executive Member Coun Paul Wray, who represents Hunslet, Beeston, and Leeds City Centre, said: “Franchising the bus service and bringing back public oversight and control will transform the service by putting people's needs before profit margins. This is why [we] are supporting the Better Buses for West Yorkshire campaign.”
Coun Lisa Martin encouraged the public to support the plans at consultation pointing to the £1 billion in economic benefits expected from bus franchising saying “publicly controlled buses for the benefit of passengers and the Leeds economy."
Campaigners at the Better Buses for West Yorkshire group, which organised the event, point to public control as a way to start improving the reliability of buses and are encouraging the public to vote “yes” in the online consultation.
Meanwhile passengers highlighted the impacts of unreliable services on them, from missed hospital appointments and shifts to children forced to wake up hours earlier to guarantee they can get to school on time.
Matthew Topham, a Campaigner at Better Buses for West Yorkshire, said: “Reliability is a top issue across our region. If the bus doesn’t turn up on time or at all, passengers are left scrambling to get themselves to work, school, or just to see family and friends.
“We know that areas with greater local control of services, like Blackpool, are the most consistently reliable services in the country. We deserve the same here. By taking our buses into public control, we’ll unlock new powers to regulate for reliability: fines for bad service, rewards for rapid improvements, and timetables that are set with punctuality, not profits, in mind.”